Are we sending our children off into the right direction?

2015-08-10 05:55

I have to say I am very much disappointed by all the societal expectations out here. In fact, let me rephrase. I am utterly repulsed by the ranks and these self-defined echelons that people place in front of us on a daily basis. Mmm… this doesn’t seem to have the right twang to it either. What I am trying to say is that if I had the appropriate tool at my disposal, I would delightedly use it on the next person who tells me what to do. I would prop it right up their ‘honourable’ behind, and bask in the glory of knowing that I have managed to rid the world of yet another extra weasel.

Honestly, people expect too much of others it’s getting exasperating. It’s always, “Oh, so you need to be this and that...” or “Why don’t you go for this”. Then there is always the usual… “But why are you not doing this? Your father/grandfather did it, John.”

Well, I have something for you today. I think many of us ignore our talents, dreams and goals in pursuit of what is acceptable to families and in the society. Don’t get me wrong, it is okay to groom your children in the right direction. One of the usual or the norm is the academic field. Many of us are all a result of this, and millions more are still to follow in the same lane. It’s all good, it’s all ‘gravy’. But what if that was never your path?

I believe more parents need to groom their children into what they are talented in. Of course, let them go through school, and be educated. But don’t force them into Medical School simply because that’s what everyone in the family, or neighbourhood did. Don’t force them into the military simply because his/her father was a soldier and his grandfather also served in the army.

How about you look out for your child’s strengths and weaknesses, and work on polishing these? Is your baby boy/girl interested in musical instruments? Get one, or even two different ones to see which ones he/she likes the most. Does your son love dancing and making awesome artefacts? Instead of forcing him into football and trying to turn him into a Lionel Messi or Christiano Ronaldo of tomorrow, how about you let him be and see how far he goes?

It might be the beginning of greater things that end up shattered in the background; veiled by your ignorance and expectant-self that your child never realises their full potential. They will end up miserable, incompetent and hate life for having lost innumerable opportunities they had growing up, but missed them. But how about making it my choice? I would rather excel in something that society doesn’t recognise, than to be mediocre at what is seen as the norm.

So, with that said, I feel it is time I stopped ignoring my talents. It is time I go back and look at all the things I used to appreciate growing up, and resuscitate that fervour I first had when I did what I loved. Here is a list of some of them:

Art

I might not have been the Pablo Picasso of the day, or the ‘African’ Vincent van Gogh, but Lord have Mercy, I had a thing with the brush and paints. I used to capture the world around me in a few little strokes, and paint a ‘thousand words’ without uttering a single vowel. Needless to say, you will never find my work in an art gallery somewhere. Neither will you find it staring gracefully at you behind a glistering shop window somewhere in the world.

The passion wasn’t groomed to perfection early enough. I did not receive the encouragement to push me to the next level in the craft. But there is one thing I know, my hands have not lost the skill. All I need is an easel, canvas, brushes and paints, then I’m good to go. If you are an artist too, this is where your journey begins. Go out there and take that first step. It’s never too late.

Writing

When I talk of writing, I don’t mean the kind of writing that finds itself pasted on a crestfallen white page on your desktop, and which gradually percolates through a client’s mailbox; making its way to the spam folder, and finally into the trash. I don’t mean the kind of writing where you are trying to sell the ideas of ‘someone’ to ‘someone’ who doesn’t give ‘two bollocks and a keg’ what you’re talking about. That kind of writing can be dull, lacking creativity and oomph. It can be the kind that you were trying to run away from when ‘they tossed’ you into the marketing or advertising field.

I’m talking about the writing that oozes of talent and skill. The writing that surpasses the thousand words that a picture tells, and paints an everlasting image in the minds of the readers. Writing that speaks not to the mind, but to the soul. That, my friends, is the kind of writing that my heart longs for profoundly.

I know a blank page is one of the scariest things to a writer. But all you need is that first word. That first click of the keyboard or the flick of a pen. The rest, as they always say, is history!

Gymnastics

For this one, I have to be honest, it had a lot to do with all the mass media from the East during my early days. I was motivated by all those ‘high-flying’ Kung-Fu and Martial Arts movies at a young age. The fast-paced, adrenaline-fuelled twists, kicks and spins the guys in these movie did were just amazing; and it goes without saying,Bruce Lee would always top off the list with a bang!

But the big issue came when I just dropped out of the gymnastics team in primary school simply because I felt I couldn’t do it better than my peers. I had what it takes; the mind-set, drive and that ability to do backflips and cartwheels like a champ, but something wasn’t right. No one noticed, and like any other dream a child has, it slowly withered away from the mind and soul. Although I still love the folks when they compete at Commonwealth Games every four years or so, I doubt my muscles would carry me through any stage currently, let alone a mere backflip. But if you are still fit enough, hit the gymnasium and put your skills to test. You never know.

Where to now…

The sky is the limit really. Instead of looking at all the fails that have been part and parcel of your life, how about shedding some light into that dark corner where your talents have remained buried over the years. Believe you me, it won’t hurt a soul. Unless you are talented in any other activity that is perilous to the human race?

If you are a politician, go for it. The Republic needs you. Look at people like the President Jacob Zuma and Julius Malema. They didn’t fall out of the sky and land in parliament. Not the best of examples in this context I know, but these two started young and paved their way up the realms to where they are. Not too sure what they are up to but they got what they pushed for, and that is politics.

If you are a singer or a musician, don’t wait for SA’s Got Talent or SA Idols to spot you. In fact, personally I would avoid these platforms at all cost. This is where a group of well-known people (some of whom don’t even have albums to their names) sit behind a desk and tell you you’re not good enough. No offense to Gareth Cliff, but as long as he doesn’t have a platinum-selling album to his name, I question his standing to tell other ‘HUMAN BEINGS’ they don’t have what it takes.

There are so many judges in our lives today that you might end up dying despondent, confused and soaking with regret if you were to follow all of their ‘self-centred’ instructions. Be YOU, be true to yourself, and work hard on that which you are good at, no matter what it takes.

Oprah Winfrey was once told that her voice is not good for TV. Bill Gates is a Harvard drop out, who failed at other businesses before starting Microsoft. Walt Disney was once told he “lacked  imagination and had no great ideas”, but Disney is worth billions today. So….

Live and let live!

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