can your parents influence your destiny?…

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20/09/2010 by Sarah Ritchie

Do your parents have the power to determine your destiny?

I had a very interesting conversation with a friend today. My friend has a four year old daughter – her first child. We were discussing the various social activities that her daughter takes part in (outside of pre-school). Currently she takes swimming lessons and is part of a ball skills programme.

My friend mentioned that – because she and her partner are not musically inclined – they have not actively encouraged their daughter to try music lessons (preferring to let that come from their daughter – at a later stage – if that is what she is interested in pursuing). She commented that they are promoting activities that they – as parents – are interested in; which they can – consequently – enjoying sharing with their child.

That made me wonder to what degree do our parents influence our pastimes, our careers, our skills? If parents do not create the opportunities for a young child to try various activities, will that child ever discover their critical path in life?

When I look back on my growing years, I realise my mother must have had such patience with me. The list of different classes and activities that I began, but soon back-pedaled out of was long! Speech & drama, tap dancing, jazz ballet, guitar, oboe, piano, swimming. The classes which lasted longer were: pottery, art, recorder.

By the time I got to high school I had discovered the concept of sticking with decisions and was a highly sports- and arts-focussed student…which is interesting in two ways. Firstly, my mother encouraged me in all things art and craft from a very young age (being a master seamstress and a highly creative person herself). On the flip side, my mother was nearly 47 years old when I was born…she wasn’t physically active due to a childhood injury, she was not interested in sport and she certainly didn’t actively encourage me to play sport. And, yet, I LOVED being a part of sports teams at high school (field hockey, underwater hockey, volleyball and soccer).

So, for me, the jury is out on parental pre-determination of a child’s future. There can be no doubt that parents will have a huge influence on a child’s direction in life. However, I feel that as a child (or youth) has exposure to new experiences along life’s path, then the flame of interest and excitement can ignite at any age! I guess sometimes we just wish it had ignited sooner than later!

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