Parenting a Budding Hobbyist

Paint SuppliesLast week we had Family Night on Friday instead of Wednesday due to a work requirement for me. We planned breakfast for dinner and an outing to Hobby Lobby to get paint for their latest hobby, which my oldest refers to as “Collecting and Customizing LEGOS”.

While waiting for our food we had the following conversation:

8YO – I’m going to be a doctor of science when I get done with college.

Hubby: Which science?

8YO – Something to do with technology and chemistry.

Hubby:  A Chemical Engineer. Nice. What will you make?

8YO:  A unicorn army to take over the universe. (Laughing because he recognizes that it’s far fetched. Yet one more reason I love Disney’s Phineas and Ferb. If you haven’t watched an episode of this trust me when I tell you that you’re missing out.)

Me:  If you do that I’ll pay good money for access to it.

Waiter:  I think a lot of people will pay good money for that. (As he walked away with a smile and a shake of his head.)

I need to replace my “if” statements with “when” statements in the you-can-do-anything-vocabulary. 

Paint Bottle Flower

But the real story here … is how I want my actions to match my words as I build their personal belief; water and grow their creative dreams. It’s possible to teach people tasks and functions. It’s not always possible to help them use their imagination. It’s a skill and an art that they can apply to any aspect of life.

My parents always had the words. But as I reflect, they rarely put those words into actions. Don’t get me wrong, their words took me a long way in achieving certain success. I can only imagine what I would have accomplished had they invested in other ways too.

So even though I don’t have personal experience to draw from or real life examples to reference, I want to take it to the next level of support.

As I listen to my dudes play it’s clear they are highly inventive. And now is not the time in their young lives to poke holes in their ventures. Some of their projects so intrigue me.

Red - The Beginning

The 8YO intends to create real light sabers. His business plan involves low cost initiation with the product but the profit will come from upgrades as a customer completes proficiency levels. We talk a lot about the importance of chemistry to excel in his passion. He also has plans for some stop motion LEGO videos, memorializing stories that he plays out as live action.

Lego Mario

The 6YO wants to write comics and make movies. “Some movies will be appropriate. And some will be inappropriate.” Which is his way of explaining that some won’t be kid-friendly. Chapter 3 of his current comic is titled:  The Parents Made The Kid Bad. Not sure if he’s trying to tell me something. Anyway, his artistic representations go well with his dialogue.

Together they are role playing scenes for their upcoming talk show. NOTE:  I’m not allowed to sing the theme song because apparently they “created it” and so they “own it”. Who taught them copyright disclosures so young? It wasn’t me. And I won’t name the show or tell you more … you’ll have to wait for the pilot release on YouTube in the near future. (I’ll  post a link when it’s out.)

Work In ProgressWe are in the process of getting them the tools to do all they wish. It’s easy to keep notebooks, markers, crayons, paints, and other craft tools on hand. However, part of this process of fostering their hobbies and interests is to teach them patience. My oldest seems to think starting today means finishing today. So managing expectations e.g. Painting LEGOS has to happen in layers so that the colors don’t bleed together.

Once he can appreciate this lesson we’ll take steps to get a tripod and help him experiment with a camera.

I feel like I’ve taken the long way around to say it’s important to me that my boys know that I care about what’s important to them in meaningful ways.

What are some ways that you invest in others’ dreams without squelching them? Or maybe you had a dream that you put on the shelf because you needed someone to encourage you? I’d love to hear about it.

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Comments

  1. What an awesome story! I especially loved: “A unicorn army to take over the universe.” You know if that day ever came, I’d be so shocked I’d probably just let it happen.

  2. Sounds like you are a wonderful parent doing your best not to squelch that creativity. It must be fun and scary at the same time to figure out what’s best. 🙂

  3. Phil Hanson says:

    This is excellent . . on several levels . . Especially when you know the hobbyists and coaches.

  4. Nice post JJ. If it’s any encouragement my son, at six, wanted to be a doctor. We smiled. 19 years later he’s qualified.
    I get almost a selfish kick from coaching track & field to youngsters, and running to adults. Every little improvement or success has a beneficial effect on both teacher and those taught.

    • It is an encouragement Roy. It’s good too know that a young person will pursue a dream to fruition. And coaching and mentoring is a wonderful way to spur people on to success. I’m not a runner but admire those who do it. Thanks for reading!

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