The Family Forum: Planting a Seed
I recently accepted a job as creative director for a line of children’s books for an up and coming publisher in Arizona. It’s a dream job that allows me to work with authors and illustrators to develop fun and educational children’s books. I had to write a short bio about myself for the publisher’s website, and it got me thinking about what kind of books I was looking to develop for the company.
The answer came quickly: I’m looking for the books that I loved as a child. I’m looking for those books that introduced new worlds and characters and let me use my imagination. In today’s world, it would be the kind of stories that allows kids to unplug for a while and enjoy using their imaginations. It would include books thatmight require some thought, not just silly words thrown on a page with an illustration.
I also thought about why I loved books so much as a child (and as an adult). Again, the answer came quickly. My grandmother instilled in me a love of books. I always looked forward to diving into the chest of books she had for me on my visits to her house. With the first book she ever read to me, she planted a seed. It was a seed that would grow and be nurtured (by her, my parents and many teachers), and would eventually turn into a passion.
I’ve done things to help my kids find their own passions. I’ve introduced them to them to many things. We’ve done things such as gardening, pole vaulting, space camp, and even digging for dinosaur bones at a real archaeological dig.
Try watching your kids, and learning from their reactions. Do you see a spark in your child when he or she is introduced to something specific? I’ve encouraged my children to step out of their comfort zones and experience new things. Sometimes the best fruit is out on the limb.
Once a child finds something they like, it’s hard for a parent to know when it’s time to push, encourage or just stay out of it. As a regular mom just like you, I don’t have any advice; I’m still learning this myself. But in my opinion, to do nothing about that spark would be far worse than doing too much.
A difficult thing for parents to remember as well is that your passion may not be your child’s passion. If we all loved the same things, then it would be a very dull, one-sided world.
So in this month of gratitude and Thanksgiving, consider asking yourself: what kind of seeds am I planting in my kids? Am I helping those seeds to grow?
For this holiday season, give your child something to be thankful for: a passion that will last a lifetime.
I will be forever grateful to my grandmother for taking the time to open me up to the world of books.
By Melissa Carrigee