I have several relatives with musical talent, and I myself play bass guitar and write music. I come from a family of soccer and volleyball players. No surprise, my brother’s and sister’s kids are very athletic and play both of these sports. Therefore it is likely that if I had a bio child they would have excelled at least at some of these things. Furthermore they probably would’ve stunk at water polo, frisbee golf, and understanding how to practice family law. I’ll never know for sure, but I do know that ”genetics” does help to give parents a strong starting point for exploring their children’s interests.
So how do you discover your adopted child’s interests and talents?
My wife and I try to introduce interests (can you say potential scholarship opportunies?) in a way that is as relaxed and noncompetitive as possible. With 6 kids we also have to keep things on the cheap side until we know the passion is there. One of my children was very interested in singing and acting. After some lessons and even chances to perform live/be on some recordings it was obvious that they were inhibited and lacked memorization skills. My wife and I made some suggestions.
- Practice more – Not well received,
- Have us film some monologues for self-improvement – Not interested,
- Get involved in local musical theatre. Hmmm… maybe.
My mindframe was “We’re in LA, you should ‘go for it’” and their POV was that I was turning it something oppressive that they didn’t want. In the end my child chose local musical theatre which turned into an activity that they really enjoyed and we enjoyed as proud parents. It wasn’t too much pressure and gave all of us the chance to see the child perform on stage.
Some cheap ways of exploring interests and cultivating talent:
- Karaoke machine. FYI if there turns out to be no hidden talent, you can hide the mics.
- Wii “____” (insert sports, dance, singing game here). We learned Zoomba is not dad’s gift.
- Driving range. One man’s stress relief is another child’s Happy Gilmore moment.
- Bowling alley. Beware dads that drink beer might mistakenly encourage their kids.
- Boy Scouts. “Really son, orienteering is your skill and you want to be a cartographer?”
- Park district lessons. We have discovered yoga, sewing, and singing talent in our kids.
- Church. Our kids have played worship music and had opportunities to sing and dance on stage.
This process can be frustrating. Some of our kids have become discouraged by more activities than I ever even tried growing up. Tennis, martial arts, snorkeling, soccer, football, wrestling, acting, writing, piano lessons, and more. Sometimes there’s a connection without talent, sometimes there is talent without passion, sometimes you force your kid to do it cuz it’s good for them. DO NOT give up. Everyone has a talent and it’s so good for your child’s self esteem, especially when they are in school looking for groups to be a part of.
In short, don’t expect your adopted kids to be good at what you are. You might enjoy writing and creating entertainment while your boys thrive in a structured military career (like us). Leave your preconceived notions at the door, whether it’s a gym door for wrestling or the door of a culinary arts school. Who knows? Be open and have fun with who your children are.
- 7 Reasons Why To Tell Your Child’s Teacher They’re Adopted It takes more than a fun fancy backpack and new clothes to...
Filed in: Blog