The Rubik's Cube of True Talent

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True talent.

I have been tossing around the concept of true talent in children for a few years now, and what it means to me as a parent. I turn it over like a Rubik’s cube, over and over and over. I twist the blocks, first horizontally, then vertically, trying to solve it.

Rubik's Cube

Just when I'd feel like I’d made a breakthrough on Rubik’s cube, I'd make one more twist, and it would all unravel. I’d see that one move forced other moves ahead, setting off a big chain of regression instead of progress. Discovering a child’s true talent is the Rubik’s cube of my parenting. There are so many directions, so many options, so many paths to parenting failure, that it sometimes feels easier to just not do anything and stick the cube back in the closet of my mind.

It starts with one twist of the cube. I am worried.

I am worried that if I do not let the kid try enough things, he/she may not discover their true talent. Twist.

And then I ask myself, does the kid even care about finding their true talent? Twist.

And if he/she does, what if he/she doesn’t have one? Twist.

And then I ask myself, does every kid have a “talent?” Twist.

And if they do, is it our obligation as parents to help them find it?Twist.

And if it is, does that mean we should expose them to every possible avenue of exploration? Twist.

And if we should, doesn’t that overburden the children with too many things? Twist.

And if the answer is yes, then should we place healthy limits on finding their talent? Twist.

And if we should, then what if they don’t find their true talent while under our supervision? Twist.

And if they don’t, will they find their own way to it, later in life? Twist.

And if they don’t, have we done the child a disservice? Twist.

And if we have, will the child hold me responsible for not being enough of a mentor? Twist.

And if they will, is there a way to prevent that now? Twist.

And now I’ve made that twist. The twist that shows me I am back where I started. No progress.

I struggle so much with writing about this topic.

I believe in the power of doing what you love.

I want desperately to empower my children to know what it is they love – their true talent, if it exists for all – and to be able to do it.

And yet, I want to avoid giving them carte blanche. I want to avoid rendering them helpless to find it on their own. I want to avoid forcing anything upon them.

My parents did not lose sleep over whether I was discovering my true talent. They did not discourage me, but also did not worry.

But I’m not sure I’ve found my true talent or if I have one. I know I spent several years doing a job I hated. A necessary life lesson or a path that could have been avoided if I had been encouraged to explore more?

Did I miss out on something?

Would my kids?

I want to hear what you think about true talent, and the questions I’ve asked. Do you play with this Rubik’s cube, or do you let come what may?

Gigi Ross is haphazardly parenting 2 children in Austin, Texas. Read her snappish take on parenting, life, pop culture and blogging at KludgyMom or her business column at ShePosts. Or connect with Gigi on Twitter @AKludgyMom.

Photo Credit: scarygami

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