Finding one’s passion and direction can be a lifelong process—but sometimes, a little inspiration and exposure is all it takes to ignite a spark.
Draw From A Wellspring Of Ideas
InspireMyKids.com is a timely and thoughtful resource for parents, featuring children and teens who believe in making the world a better place through meaningful action. For instance, read about 11-year-old Mikaila Ulmer, who created a company to sell lemonade and save bees at the same time. Her product is now being carried by selected Whole Foods Markets stores as well as other establishments in her Texas hometown.
Suggested Activity: Encourage your child to identify stories that he or she relates to; each InspireMyKids article includes additional resources, questions for discussion, and suggestions for next steps that readers can take.
Know That Age Is Just A Number
At 15, Gabe Fleisher’s concerns aren’t limited to high school socialising—he gets up every morning at 5:55 a.m. to digest the latest political developments in the US and dissect it for his newsletter subscribers, which are said to include media professionals from The Atlantic, MSNBC, and CBS News. “I feel a sense of responsibility,” he says of his one-man endeavour. “Not everyone reads [my newsletter] every day, and it’s obviously not the only thing people read. But some people tell me that it is. And that’s a responsibility that I take seriously.”
Suggested Activity: Use the discussion questions on the New York Times’ Learning Network as a conversation starter, and help your child to locate his or her news interests. Broach the topic of inspiration versus intimidation; how does your child feel about a young person who is passionate, dedicated, and accomplished?
Provide Opportunities To Speak Up
Watch children and teens conquer their fear of public speaking to communicate their passions and beliefs on TED. Presenters are as young as eight years old, with diverse interests ranging from animal welfare and fashion to scientific breakthroughs and perception change.
Suggested Activity: Assess the presenters’ ideas and find out if your children agree or disagree with the points made, and why. Discuss the effectiveness of their presentation styles and their use of visual aids.
Devote Time To New Experiences & Interests
For homegrown inspiration, let your child read about Catherine Lai, an 18-year-old who clinched a finalist’s spot in a prestigious science competition with her research on combating a drug-resistant superbug. Or find out more about Kyra Poh, the 14-year-old indoor skydiver who came in tops at this year’s international Wind Games.
Suggested Activity: Discuss the time commitment that is requisite for giving one’s best, and what both girls may have sacrificed in the process. Ask your child if he or she can foresee doing the same for any cause or interest.
Prepare For Challenges
There is nothing more humbling than reading about a young person who has transformed adversity into opportunity. Singaporean teenager Lin was 15 when she attracted media attention for being a noteworthy food Instagrammer, a creative project that redefined her relationship with food and aided her recovery from bulimia. To read more local stories of triumph, turn to the Ministry of Education’s Facebook page, where they regularly spotlight inspiring youths.
Suggested Activity: Discuss the concept of resilience with your child, and ways of dealing with setbacks in life, which are almost always unexpected.