IntroductionWhatever references or real-world case-studies are discussed in this article do not pertain to the child prodigies. They are totally different. They are special people, where the talent starts showing up so early in their lives, often before the age of five or six.
However, even in the case of others, God would have given some natural ability to people. At some stage, the child, normally before the age of eight spends too much time on his or her passion and would go to any length to really hang on to it. This will naturally annoy most parents. More so, if the field is highly competitive. They would hence keep goading the child to study and settle in a good job and then pursue his or her passion, on a part-time basis. In very few cases does it happen that the parents keep on engaging and encouraging the child to chase his or her passion and also live it; the child will study through distance education and still be powerful in terms of becoming a professional. However, in a short span of two decades, the individual would have saved enough to manage to live a very good life thereafter, even when he or she quits the game. Cricketers are the best example.
Be that as it may, the exact steps to be followed are a) Get the teacher/parent to spot the passion b) Encourage special training in that passion c) Keep education as a secondary preoccupation d) Keep on giving positive strokes, and e) Keep encouraging a pugnacious spirit in children.
Get the teacher/parent to spot the passion A very famous television artiste, now Chennai-based, but having an ambition to even act in Hindi movies, was all praise for her parents. When she expressed a desire to become a television artiste, she got the first break when she was asked to compere a few famous film-based shows. Everyone noticed this chirpy girl called Nakshatra. The chance to act in television serials happened so naturally. Her real break came so recently. He acted in a famous serial called Nayagi in Tamil and was noticed for her superb acting talent. She paired up with Krishna, an extremely talented hero, whose expressions are a treat to watch on television. Nakshatra is among the busiest of television actors today, and she is so busy on Sun TV, the best channel with the widest reach in Tamil Nadu.
This is exactly what passion is all about. One should encourage passion. After all, acting is another profession. The kind of entertainment that actors provide to the public on television and on cinema screens can never be calculated on the basis of only money.
Another example is the world-class actor, who has won several National Awards and has been acting for the past sixty years. Kamal Hassan. The name just spells magic. The family ecosystem has given to the Tamil movie world, such a brilliant actor. Of course, he has also acted in Hindi and several other languages. Today, he is above sixty but is still recognized for his acting prowess. Encouragement and nurturing of the passion can be done when the parent or the teacher spots a single activity that comes naturally to the child. This identification and further nurturing has to happen so naturally. There is no other option.
Hundreds of people miss out so badly on chasing their passions because of undue family and parental pressure. When this happens, the person loses interest and gradually retreats to a world of his or her own, virtually doing something for a living but totally uninterested in doing it.
Encourage special training in that passionChennai is the fourth largest city in India, in terms of area. It is also the citadel of Carnatic music. Hundreds of parents spot the natural passion in their children and move as close to the action as possible. Similar action, it is understood, is reportedly done by thousands of parents who have spotted the special talent in their children for Hindustani music, in North India.
This is exactly how it ought to be. There is no need to bother too much about formal education. Today, after the tenth standard, it is quite possible to study privately and obtain online or distance education degrees and post-graduate degrees that are recognized by the UGC, the State Governments, and the Central Governments. Whatever direction the new education policy will take is not yet clear. But the intent of the Government of India seems to be on more comprehensive and creative learning, and the methods to achieve this sort of noble objective is bound to have flexibility like never before. One can always have more choices when the new education policy is rolled out.
Keep education as a secondary preoccupationIf one goes on analyzing the career graphs of most cricket players, musicians, music directors, actors in movies and television serials, the creative arts, and even emerging fields like event management, it will be noticed that the primary emphasis, per se, was not on formal education. The success stories would not have been possible if the parents were have emphasized only the formal learning in total exclusion of nurturing the passion of their children. Kamal Hassan, for example, is a school drop out, who entered the movie industry when he was hardly six years old. Today, he is an actor known all over the world, and easily the best actor in India at the moment.
A.R. Rahman had a big passion for music and did not possess a good educational background. But today, he is one of the best in the industry. It is always wise to give primary importance to the passion of children and then to formal education if he or she is really talented.
Keep on giving positive strokesNo creative artist will lie through his or her teeth when talking about their personal lives. In fact, they would recall with fond affection, all the encouragement and the patting on the back that their parents gave them for several years. In psychology, this is called "positive strokes".The trick is to keep on giving such positive strokes day in and day out, to enable the child to remain focussed on his or her passion with undivided attention.
Keep encouraging a pugnacious spirit in childrenThis is extremely important. The child will automatically possess the pugnacious spirit. But more often than not, the parents bow down to family pressure and simply force the child to give up his or her passion at some stage. Or, the locational disadvantage has its own effect. For example, if one is based in a small town in the Southern corner of any State like Tamil Nadu, that ecosystem does not naturally encourage the pugnacious spirit. Marks and grades are always given importance and parents brag about the so-called achievement of their children. There are millions spread all over the country and abroad, doing nothing but coding. The creative talent that could have been in them, has naturally been killed.
This is exactly what should not happen. Today, the internet is playing a crucial role. The YouTube success stories are precious to be totally neglected by parents. There are visible changes throughout India, but a lot more needs to be done to nurture the passion of children. Their pugnacious spirit should be totally encouraged.
ConclusionToday, the world has changed totally and only those who are very dynamic will succeed. If and when children have special passions in whatever field, it is the duty of parents to actively encourage such passions and get the passions to blooms to the fullest potential of the children. The process has to start very early in school. The basic steps of the process have been discussed above in some detail.
It may be an irony of fate that for the last more than one year children could not go to school, could not play, nor pursue their passions unless it is some common indoor activity. Some of the children who developed a dislike for school studies and showed aversion to subject classes were showing an apologetic side and saying that they will never wish for a holiday to avoid class. They say that they are now ready to go to school every day without even a day's break. They have suffered so much. Even those with some special passions could not pursue that also- be it music, games, arts, dance, or anything else.
I see a hidden presumption in the article, which is also a stereotype tone of many modern motivators- that basic studies and individual passions are mutually annulling. My view is that they can be adapted suitably to be co-existent and mutually supporting. It also has to be ensured that passion does not turn to be a dangerous obsession too.
As education itself is originated from the root word educe or draw the latent talents, education can be oriented and made helpful to draw out and develop one's hidden talents. In fact, the ancient education system had such a system inbuilt in it. It is only after the advent and spread of the colonial education system that education was treated as a stand-alone, time-consuming monotonous ritual.