The Treasure Hunt
One of the rewards of being a parent is seeing your children make discoveries about their unique personalities, interests, and talents. Everyone treasures those special moments when a child's face lights up with a flash of insight.
Such a discovery—"I like the saxophone," "I've got a good sense of humor"—can spark a vocation or hobby that becomes a lifelong source of pleasure, especially when a child has a parent's support.
One way you can inspire your child is by encouraging her to explore a variety of activities—and by respecting her preferences even when she makes surprising choices. You should also take advantage of unplanned opportunities. As The Treasure Hunt illustrates, children often learn about themselves through interactions with others.
In this story, Little Bill is stuck at home on a rainy day. His father and brother both have hobbies they enjoy, listening to jazz and collecting baseball cards, but Little Bill isn't interested. Feeling lonely and bored, he retreats to his cluttered room, but he can't find anything to amuse himself with.
Great-grandmother walks in and saves the day. A wise and sensitive woman, she coaxes Little Bill to tell her a story. He makes up a wonderful tale about "something" that did "nothing," he calls it "no big thing," something special of his own after all: he's not only a good storyteller, he can make people laugh. You can tell this "treasure" is going to become a big part of his life.
It is gratifying to watch a child's sense of pride grow by leaps and bounds as he gains a sense of mastery using new skills.
Keep on, Little Bill!
Alvin F. Poussaint, MD
Clinical Professor of Psychiatry
Harvard Medical School and
Judge Baker Children's center