I read this really great article today, which of course got me thinking about my own family because it fits us well.
I also read a comment by the mother of a kid who has indeed found a passion at a young age, and gets herself ready for practices and commitments and whatnot, even while her parents have kept options open for taking breaks or trying other things. I think it's totally cool when that happens, and I'm all for supporting kids' talents and such; but my experience has been closer to the article. Historically, we Skerribs are generalists. We dabble in many areas, and our knowledge is widespread and ankle-deep.
These are my big 3:
--The closest thing I have to a passion is running, and I didn't catch onto it until eighth grade or so. It didn't earn me any money for college (or ever--thanks for nothing, running!), and I devote at most a few hours per week to it. Still, it is the thing that has stuck with me the longest; the thing that I do regardless of our location or circumstance, and will keep on doing as long as the good Lord lets me (Please God let it be until I die, sharp and feisty, at age 85. Amen).
--I love playing the drums, and I enjoy being part of a music group...but I wouldn't call it a passion.
--I love keeping this blog and writing out my thoughts and ideas. I like playing with words and reading about grammar and stuff...but I wouldn't call myself passionate about it.
These are the things I am currently dabbling (or considering dabbling) in:
--Learning Dream a Little Dream on the ukulele
--Learning Spanish via Duolingo on my phone (and OMG I just learned that I can sign on to the website and my progress is there too!)
These are the things I have pursued (or dabbled in at least a teeny bit) before:
--Teaching high school math, and all things learning/education
--Sewing baby slings
--Painting basketball court-sized maps on school campuses
--Knitting (which I should never do again)
--Crocheting (which I will leave to those more capable than myself)
--Playing the flute (ugh, that was not for me)
As a friend of mine once said, there's a lot going on "in there," meaning my head. I love learning and trying new things. I watch Dirty Jobs and, with the exception of the episodes involving snakes, think "I could totally do Mike Rowe's job!" Sometimes I wonder, had I picked something earlier on and stuck with it, what that might have looked like. Sometimes I wish I could narrow things down a little, because I can get a little overwhelmed with all the things I still want to try out there.
I try not to get too worked up about it though. I've found that for the most part, if I take things a day at a time and be aware of opportunities as they float by, that I get to be part of some pretty amazing, if random, happenings. For example, when I have been talking about taking Spanish for years and then suddenly it turns out there's an app for that. Crazy.
That's all to say, if you or your kid has a passion, then I say go for it. I think it's a beautiful thing to love something enough to put your heart and soul into it. If not though, neither the above article or I think you should freak out about it. I'm not sure if there's some great conspiracy out there, but if you're not bent on only one certain college, it turns out there are plenty of quality schools that don't require a professional resume of achievements by the age of 18. Seriously, admissions will take care of itself (tuition, on the other hand, is a little more complex). Go and enjoy what you enjoy.
After all, there's so much to explore, why not take in as much as you can?