Over the last few months, I’ve had a bit of a realisation. For years, I’ve been pushing our children to find their passion in the frantic hope they will make a career out of it. In the hope they will join the ranks of extraordinary “Unschooled” kids we so often read about online who have created their own “Start-up” company at age 13, or won an award for being the youngest entrepreneur in history, or are spending their later teenage years travelling around Africa helping to build clean water wells. Maybe my kids will do this but, what if they just do “Average” things instead? How would I feel in years to come if someone asked me what my “Unschooled” kids are doing as adults and I reply, “Ah, well…they got married, had a couple of kids, work a 9-5pm job and visit us every Sunday for dinner”.
We live in a society where being average is frowned upon and I have to admit that the world of “Unschooling” is often a strong supporter of this idea, as though just the fact that your child is unschooled will make them extraordinary at something. But, what if your kid is just average at most things? What if they don’t have a particular passion but lots of interests. I’m a bit like this myself, well actually I’m a lot like this. I become passionate about things for a while, run with it and then often, drop it and move on to something else. Knitting, Hand felting, Natural dyeing, Jewellery making, chickens, Dog agility competing and making my own underwear! These are just a few of the things I’ve been madly passionate about and believed I would make a career out of, ran with them, got bored and stopped, never to pick them up again.
Of course, a few things have stuck, making art and writing, but other interests come and go which I am just mostly average at. Actually, I’m probably just average at making art and writing too.
In a society that is constantly sending the message…”FIND YOUR PASSION!”, it can make most of us panic and wonder..”WHAT THE F**K IS MY PASSION?” and “OH GOD, WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE ONE!!!”. So, I’ve decided there is no way I am going to pass this pressure on to my children, it might be too late, but I am not going to further support the idea. I recently listened to a series of Podcasts called Home Grown Education by Ben Hewitt (a writing hero of mine) and Heather Bruggeman. Within these episodes, Ben and Heather speak about “Averageness“. Rather than pushing his children to find their passion, Ben’s way of helping his two unschooled sons think about their futures is by telling stories of the lives of people they know within, and beyond their community.
And, let’s take a truthful look at the world around us. Many artists, musicians, inventors, even small business people I know, either do another less creative job to pay the bills or are juggling many different kinds of projects in order to support their main interest. I’m not saying we shouldn’t encourage our children to reach for their dreams, but we could drop the Passion Pushing and leave a bit of room for “Averageness”.