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As parents, we always want the very best for our kids and nothing makes us more proud than their achievements. We also want them to have fulfilling lives in which they not only realise their potential but also enjoy the choices that they have made. I am no different. My daughter is almost 5 now and in this short a journey, I have tried to gauge her interests and wondered about a suitable pursuit in life for her resulting in amusing conclusions.
When she was just 4 months old, she would display a great curiosity towards fabrics. If I wore a colourful or embroidered dress, her eyes would widen perceptibly and she would reach out to touch and feel the fabric. Her keen sense for textures and colours made me declare that we had a little textile or fashion designer in the making.
The next phase of career prediction came when she started giving 'taal' with her tiny hands -anywhere and anytime. You gave her a bottle, she would suck on it and give taal to an imaginary piece like a classical singer. You seated her in a pram, she would start her practice. It was a lot of fun to see her thus and guess if a certain activity would inspire her to give a taal.
The third was the 'halwai' phase. The world was her pan and she would stir and stir that imaginary, never ending stew or halwa or whatever it was that she was cooking.
The fourth one was a celebrity phase. She would wave at everyone. I remember a taxi ride which we took from Mumbai airport to a friend's place and she waved her hand during the whole ride. I concluded that we had a Ms. Universe or a politician in the making.
One day, when she was about 3.5 years old, she was playing alone in her room. After about half an hour of silence, she came out and showed me a Rubik's cube with all but one centre piece completely aligned. I was shocked and couldn't believe my eyes. All faces of Rubik's cube done! I went berserk and asked her if she had done it. She proudly said yes. I took pictures of the cube and was about to send them to my husband proclaiming "We have a genius in our house and maybe we should let her take the Mensa" when a doubt crept in my mind. "Anya! Who had played with this cube before you?" I asked her. "Adi Bhaiyya" chirped she merrily. And all beans got spilled......Adi was a 9 year old neighbour who was learning the cube. He had come to play a couple of days back and left the cube in this state. My little genius had turned a few pieces around and rearranged them and was mightily pleased with her effort. She had come to show off her skills and I readily fell for the bait and perched myself on cloud nine! I burst out laughing and that was the end of my child prodigy fancy!
Or was it? Because then Malcolm Gladwell's theory echoed in my mind and I found myself believing in it. In his book 'Outliers', Gladwell says that it takes roughly 10,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery in any field. He studied many successful lives before coming to this conclusion. Interestingly, his theory states that there is nothing as a natural talent. The more you practice a craft, the better you become at it. As simple as that! Sound quite promising and gives the command of our lives in our own hands.
Now, sometimes my little munchkin wants to become a doctor-maid and sometimes a teacher-painter She loves drawing, colouring and painting. She can fiddle with her doctor set and see endless streams of patients (read Mummy coming in with a different ailment each time) She can sit for hours together and indulge in these activities. Maybe, we have an artist in the making, maybe we have a doctor, I muse indulgently.
The conclusion is, whatever she aspires to become, she will get our support. We like to expose her to different experiences and activities to gauge her interests. Let her cultivate an interest and me and my husband will give her wings all the strength to fly. Be it emotional or financial, we will be by her side.
Fly our little birdie, you can even fly beyond the sky if your dreams lie yonder!
‘This article is an entry to the contest ‘Early Starter Contest’ by Aviva