Sharing Your Passions with Your Kids

Your kids don’t automatically absorb your love of a place, a food, or a subject area. As parents, it’s our privilege and responsibility to gently introduce them to these things in such a way that they, too, can begin to know and love what we hold precious.

Here’s a story to illustrate.

Many years ago, I was speaking to a group of homeschooling parents for the day. After sharing my enthusiasm for kids being given the opportunity to LOVE learning (rather than merely enduring it), I took a short break in a room set aside for speakers. Unfortunately, that room was located right by a couple whose voices were growing louder and louder. At a certain volume, I tuned in and realized that they were heatedly discussing what I had just said from the stage!

Oh, dear. Should I sit quietly in this room or should I open the door and enter the conversation??

If you know me, you will not be surprised that I opened the door.

“Excuse me, but I could not help overhearing your conversation.”

The man/husband/father had that deer-in-the-headlights look when he saw me, realizing I was fully apprised of his complaints.

“Is there something you would like to talk about with me, about this idea of loving learning?”

He took the opening and we began a great conversation (with his wife as a relieved observer). He was an engineer, a bottom-line realist, and he wanted evidence that “enjoying” learning actually had merit. I gladly gave him information on brain research and anecdotes of what I had observed in homeschooling families around the world, and he was very responsive.

That’s when we began to get to the matter at hand. It turns out that his daughter hated algebra. And he felt personally attacked by her extreme dislike of his favorite subject. He told me, with a sort of wistful sound in his voice,

“When I drive to work, I love looking at the cows in the fields, and then using algebra to figure out. . .” (whatever it was he figured out. . . he lost me at that point.)

He went on to explain that he found SUCH joy in algebra, in the rightness and logic of it, and that he could not even begin to understand why his daughter held it in such aversion. Listening to him, it seemed clear that it felt very personal, like she was not just rejecting algebra, but, in a sense, her father.

I asked him if he had ever taken his daughter with him on that drive, and shared with her the joy of the cows and the fields and the algebra he used to figure out. . .whatever it was he figured out. He looked at me with a stunned expression as he said no.

He had not understood until that moment that kids don’t automatically absorb our love of a place, a food, or a subject area. And, when it comes to subject areas, if they don’t have the same kinds of Smart that we do, it may be that they will never LOVE the subject area. . .

But that won’t stop them from appreciating and enjoying that we love it!

That’s what relationship is like. You might not LOVE fishing, but if your spouse loves fishing, you learn to love that they love it. . .you might even learn to like it for yourself.

So, stay relational with your kids!!