What do you want to be when you grow up? a typical question asked to a young child. ‘An Astronaut!” “A Cop!” “A Superhero!” “A Pop Singer!” “A Movie Star!” are perhaps some of the responses you’ll get if they’re very young. It’s cute. And it’s part of their dreams…
And it’s important to dream with your child. To see the world from their point of view and their interpretation of reality. Even if it is a mite unrealistic.
Children aged six or seven tend to have very different ambitions to those they eventually land up with. For instance, in our age of SpaceX and billionaires preparing for Mars colonization, it wouldn’t be unusual for a child to consider being an astronaut. Who wouldn’t want to partake in a fun space adventure? However, is this likely? Probably not.
Perhaps they have other ambitions, too. Like being a firefighter. Who wouldn’t want to go sliding down a pole from the second floor? Of course, for the brave few, this ambition remains. But, on the other hand, reality tends to settle in for most kids when they’re older. Going toe-to-toe with out-of-control plasma that can melt your face while carrying smoke inhalation victims outside isn’t fun in real life. It takes having the right stuff for the job. I certainly wouldn’t do it. Running into burning buildings isn’t anything I’d do outside of a video game (like one your kid could code at Tekkie Uni), but hey, that’s just me.
Children’s innate talents begin to shine
As your kid gets older, you’ll start noticing where their strengths are beginning to shine. Perhaps they have great grades because of their essay writing abilities in their first language class. They could be future authors! Or, they literally knock the ball out of the park on the sports field. They could be the next big cricket or baseball player. Maybe they are a whizz, way ahead of the class, when it comes to Physics class — you might also notice odd smells coming from their room as they experiment with chemistry you really hope doesn’t blow the roof off the house. But in any case, you could have a budding scientist on your hands!
It’s even possible they start a lemonade stand, with their own unique recipe that ends up with them bringing in the big bucks when they come in at night. One day an entrepreneur? That lemonade stand might start bearing fruit for their future. Pun intended.
At this point, what they want from life becomes more realistic. Their innate talents start to emerge due to the real-world environmental factors allowing it. This is an excellent time to start conversing with your child about where they see themselves as adults. It’s probably around the ages of 12 or 13 that this happens, and they’re going through the transitional phase of childhood into teenagers — where their experiences and experiments with life begin as they start to find their way.
So, now is an excellent time to encourage their interests and talents. If they’re into the sciences, for instance, finding them STEAM-based projects to do will no doubt encourage their ambition. For those parents who don’t know what STEAM is, it’s an integrated teaching model that’s become increasingly popular — combining the subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math for a holistic approach to education. Many STEAM projects are available and are good as a supplement for any child, no matter where their strengths lie. It encourages curiosity, creative thinking, rationality, and experimentation. For instance, there’s a STEAM project where your child can make their own volcano! No worries, though; it won’t Pompeii your house.
It’s time to make the dream a reality
So now that your child is no longer your child, but your tween or teen, it’s time to implement a plan. We live in a highly competitive world. It is not just dog-eat-dog; it’s dog vaporizes dog with high-powered plasma rifles. You want to give your kid the best advantage you can.
Say, they’re an excellent artist, painting beautiful pictures. How will they stand out in the crowd of other genuinely talented artists? Extra lessons may help. Indeed, they’ll need to get by on more than innate talent. Many successful artists have some understanding of art history, the development of art through the ages, the techniques used by the great masters, and what trends are currently ongoing. Then, they need to become encouraged to be trendsetters themselves. But, like with kung fu, you can develop your own school only when you have mastered the rules. Or style. And at least be respected for it.
That doesn’t just apply to artists. Writers should have an excellent foundational knowledge of classic literature. Or, at least, follow Pulitzer-winning journalists. Future scientists must be given as much information on the work that’s come before them to build a foundation of knowledge — standing on the shoulders of giants, as all great scientists of the past few centuries have done.
Then there are the new opportunities that opened up thanks to the development of the simple cellular phone into a fully-fledged converged communications computational device (my term for smartphones.) And we have Mr. Steve Jobs to thank for that. For foreseeing a future where smartphones become so essential to our lives for just about everything, you could theoretically do anything with your high-end smartphone.
This has created an entirely new market of opportunities for those with the skills to code and develop apps. And it’s not exactly that hard to code or develop apps anymore. Certain educational online schools have made it super easy, barely an inconvenience. Like Tekkie Uni, for instance. Our live, synchronous online courses make learning to code not just simple, but fun too.
How to Motivate their Future
Here’s one thing you don’t want to do when you’ve identified your child’s talents and natural abilities. Push them too hard. Which is tempting, because of the idea that the more practice covered in the most intense way is the best method for improving those abilities.
But what often happens is burnout. Burnout can best be described as demoralization, a state of continuous exhaustion, and a lack of willingness to go on. Avoid burnout by having your child work on their skills sustainably. Part of what makes their talents special is a natural love for them. Don’t take that away by making your kid resent having these abilities at all.
Instead, encourage and set aside extra lessons and extramural activities within reason. Everybody needs a break. But you’ll also get a sense of your child’s limitations and how far they can be reasonably pushed. The Williams Sisters are an example of having a parent who pushed them to their limits, but achieving success wasn’t the most important thing in their lives. They still maintained a healthy, happy relationship with their father, who dreamt with them, as we’re advising you to do.
On the other hand, Michael Jackson’s father Joe was notorious for pushing his sons, especially Michael, to breaking point. While Jackson was a huge success, it left what arguably could be seen as a damaged psyche and a desire never to have anything to do with his father again (though he ultimately forgave him). This parent dreamt with his kid, but the dream became a nightmare. You want to ensure you get the balance right.
How Tekkie Uni Can Help
Wherever your child’s interests lie, specific future skills will be essential to have in the upcoming decades. Coding is undoubtedly one. And the creativity of content creation is another. We offer these courses and more. But besides the hard skillset your children will learn with us, there are also the essential Four Cs:
- Critical thinking
- Creative thinking & innovation
We implement these skills by creating a live, online classroom your child gets to be part of. Where they can, in real-time, interact with their teacher and other students. And we encourage classmates to collaborate, problem-solve, and think creatively together to overcome challenges. This prepares them with the soft skills needed to fully realize their potential in the real world.
So if you have big dreams for your kid, and want theirs to come true, too, enroll them today.