Monday, March 18, 2013

My Favorite Things

I've never had trouble forming opinions.  My trouble is usually forming too many!  One thing that surprised me each time one of my girls moved in was their lack of real opinions.  Don't get me wrong, they had plenty of complaints.  There was a lot of whining when chores or homework time came around.  I'm talking here about likes and dislikes.  Those were almost nonexistent, and it was true all three times.

Sometimes I chalk things up to each individual kid.  After all, we are all different.  But this particular issue I've run into each time.  In the beginning it made me a little sad.  Ten years old and no favorites?  No favorite color?  No favorite food?  No favorite book or movie?  Really?  Yes, really.  I've thought long and hard on this issue, and let me say I am no expert, but in this situation I have come to a conclusion.

If I grew up with the transient lifestyle that my girls lived I too would have become a chameleon.  That's what they were.  I would learn to eat whatever was served.  I would learn to live in different houses with different clothes and different, if any, toys.  I would get used to the fact that nothing is every really mine.  Why then would I bother liking something?  If my favorite color is yellow, would anyone care enough to buy me something yellow.  Doubtful.  Enough of that and I would just give up.  That's what they did.

So I went on a quest of sorts.  Three of them actually.  I was determined to learn who my kids were and what they liked.  Each time I exposed them to as much variety as I could.  Food was pretty easy.  Pizza toppings, ice cream flavors and the candy bar aisle brought lots of firsts.  Hannah's favorite colors alternate between blue, green and orange while Ashley is a stickler for red.  The jury is still out on Amy's color. 

Hannah wanted to learn piano and five years later plays beautifully.  Ashley wanted to take lessons as well, but soon learned music just wasn't her thing.  She did ask for crochet lessons though.  I had never met an eleven year old who could crochet, but here she is complete with her own Etsy shop!  Amy really enjoys art.  Maybe there are art lessons in her future.  Both older girls love to read.  Hannah enjoys the classics.  Ashley prefers mysteries.  Amy is still feeling this one out...

There are a million things I could add to the list, funny stories about cooked carrots and hairstyles, but it would all boil down to this:  Help your kids find their favorites.  Maybe the kids in your life are your students.  Maybe math is the bane of their existence.  Make sure they know they don't have to like everything.  They may still have to give it their best shot, but they don't have to marry it - do people still use that expression, or is it just me?

Looking back I'm glad I got to experience all these new things with my girls.  Even if they would have discovered their gifts and talents back then, they most likely would not have had the opportunity to develop and experiment with them. I like learning about my kids.  Even better, I like watching them learn about themselves!

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