Jan 302012

So what do you do when you don’t know what to do?

This is a conundrum that our daughter faces every day. Our son, for all his lack of commitment to certain things has other things that he’s very confident about.

Our daughter is very passionate about stuffed animals but she can’t settle on one that is her favorite. Our son has a stuffed animal, a pillow, and a blanket that are – and always have been – his favorites. This makes our daughter crazy! Why can’t she decide?!

Our daughter wants to play an instrument; she’s tried violin and piano but for whatever reason they’re not working for her. Our son plays guitar. It was his first instrument. When he was younger he said he wanted to play guitar. We got him a nice toy guitar that he could abuse without fear of financial ruin. The idea was, if after a year he hadn’t destroyed it and was still playing with it, we would get him a real one. He’s got a real one – and a ukulele – he would also like to get a banjo. Our daughter thinks perhaps she would enjoy the flute.

She’s taken horseback riding lessons, and while she was good at it she didn’t like going much faster than a trot and certainly didn’t want to learn to jump.

She started knitting and is interested in it but doesn’t really care for the knitting part.

She wants something to be “her thing” but can’t decide what it is. She finds it to be very frustrating.

The wife and I were talking about it the other day and she hit upon the idea that the kids reflect an internal vs. external focus. Our son has a vision for how he wants things to be. It’s something inside him that has to come out. That’s why in his free time he’s always creating – drawing, building, writing – trying to express that inner vision. And it shows up in his interests and commitments. He had a vision of playing the guitar. He may stretch that vision to include the ukulele, the banjo, and other guitar-like instruments but when it comes to playing an instrument the decision has been made.

Our daughter is looking at trappings. The external stuff that can fulfill what she needs. Her desire doesn’t seem to be driven by something inside her burning to get out. Even so, she’s tenacious and that desire to find her thing can be the basis for a passion to pursue – what? A search for meaning? A goal for success or happiness? Well, we’ll certainly steer her in that direction. In the meantime, she does have things that she enjoys and if she needs guidance it can be a good place to start.

She loves fairies.

She loves to play with her dolls (American Girl, of course).

She listens to audio books with an obsessive compulsion (Anne of Green Gables and Terry Pratchett’s The Wee Free Men).

The trick for us now is to help her find out what she can do with them.

 Posted by on January 30, 2012

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