Should We Stop Pushing “Passion” and Embrace “Averageness”

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, believed I would make a career out of, ran with it, 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”.

6 thoughts on “Should We Stop Pushing “Passion” and Embrace “Averageness”

  1. I have a different perspective on this. I think, just like in everything else, there is such an infinite variety of individuals, that everything, (including, if not especially finding passions), takes place with each person at different times and in different ways.

    I always assumed that the many calls for pursuing your passions were intended to encourage letting go of the fear to follow your dreams. I never interpreted these calls as urgent pleas to figure out what your one true passion is. I’d argue that you are in fact pursuing your passions in a grand form. The fact that your passions don’t happen to stay the same doesn’t make them not passions. The very definition of a renaissance person is one who is interested in a variety of fields, and uses their knowledge of all of those fields to inform their unique genius!

  2. Luminara, thank you! I’ve been feeling this thought for some time and when I heard you talk about it in Pam Larrichia’s podcast, I said out loud, “YES!”
    Ever since we went to an unschooling conference over a year ago and people kept talking about why their unschooled kids were so much better than school kids because their kids wouldnt be working for someone else. I just kept thinking how that type of thinking was just creating another box to put our kids in… That they had to be entrepreneurs or they weren’t truly unschooled kids! Ugh! You made so many good points during that podcast with Pam that I found myself more than once saying out loud ‘yes’! I appreciate your story and perspective particularly because I also was very enamored with the Waldorf, as well as Montessori, schools of thought for raising children.

    1. What an amazing comment! Thank you Heather. I am so with you on the “Unschooled kids are better” thing. I realised a few years ago I had got catch up in that thinking. It can cause our children to feel pressured to perform just as school children are. You put it perfectly, it’s just another box!

      1. As I was cleaning the kitchen this evening, I thought of another thing. When I was hearing/reading these comments about “unschooled kids are more likely to be able to do this…”, and, “…unschoolers are better because of that…”, etc., I kept feeling like something was not right in my gut. And now I know why: It was another us vs. them argument being built. Why are we so quick to make things into a competition?! I’m all for sports and other arenas of competition where there is a clear end goal, but “humans being” is just that: Humans being. We are not here to compete with each other and better our neighbor or to prove we are better than him or her or them. We are here to feel joy and happiness and we won’t ever be done so we don’t need to even think we’ll get it wrong since there is no end. I go back to that when I start allowing fear to creep back in. 🙂 Have a lovely day.

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