Give up, parents. We can’t instill a love for something in our kids

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My 4yo made me draw this. She was obsessed with ‘Frozen’ at the time, and she loves to draw, so when she found all these drawing tutorials by Fun2Draw on YouTube, guess who ended up doing all the work? I’m not complaining; there are far worse things she could be watching on YouTube.

People often comment on how much my kid likes drawing and how well she colours inside the lines, and I say, well that’s only because she’s been practicing for years. And she has. I started drawing with/for her when she was one. It was the only way I could get her to sit through an entire two-hour episode of ‘American Idol’. Or a two-hour dinner in a restaurant. Or whatever else I needed her to sit through. We went through stacks of used paper and unused notebooks, and when she first discovered buses, I must have drawn literally a hundred or more of them, over and over and over again.

I guess all those hours I spent doodling for her are paying off now that she loves to draw and colour on her own, which makes me wonder if she would have ended up loving art anyway, or did I have a part to play in it? Certainly I’m proud and glad, but as this post by Penelope Trunk argues, we can’t force our kids to love something. And telling ourselves that it’s “good for them” or anything of the sort is us lying to ourselves about our own unfulfilled dreams and real motivations behind the “encouragement”.

She’s probably right. As parents, I think we have less influence over our children’s passions (and future) than we would like to believe. The only things we can do are give them the opportunities to discover, learn and grow, encourage them to dream, and teach them to be good, compassionate and hardworking human beings. Then we cross our fingers, and we wait.

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