It’s interesting, particularly with teenagers, because often what becomes their greatest asset first presents itself as a pain in the asset. You know what I’m saying?
So oftentimes kids will exhibit essentially unrefined gifts. And these unrefined gifts often will present themselves as annoyances. I talk for a living. I write books. I talk. As a kid, I was a class clown. I was a kid that 9/10 teachers said, kid, you need to shut up. You need to stop running your mouth.
But that’s not the right response. The right response is, you have something here but we need to hone this so you can use this productively. So how do you teach your kid to find that thing for them? That thing that could become really refined and serve them for the rest of their lives?
Number one, you need to encourage them to get involved in whatever they nerd out over. Whatever they’re passionate about and excited about doesn’t have to be whatever you’re excited about. As long as it’s legal and they’re excited about it, you should encourage them to go somewhere where they can hone and refine that skill.
This is really, really important. Because what this ultimately does is gives your kid a sense of self-esteem. And sometimes people think that self-esteem is something that is either given or not. People have it or they don’t. Self-esteem is something that the tall, dark, and handsome have but what if you’re not that. What if you’re not naturally confident?
But when you’re going after something you’re naturally passionate about, and you’re experimenting and getting better and trying things, really what you have here is something I refer to as step-esteem. Meaning each time you take a step towards something that is a) good for you but b) intimidates you a little bit, you actually gain in esteem. Because self-esteem is not something that is given. It is earned by facing things that are challenging.
Self-esteem is earned by facing things that are difficult. Self-esteem is earned through estimable acts. Not just given to a select few. So if you can find those things that some people find annoying or that are unrefined and say, that’s interesting. Why don’t you get involved? Why don’t you hone that? I see something really good within this rough draft of this gift that you have, then your kid will gain esteem, then your kid will find their voice, and they might even find their future career.