The Right Time – When Do You Discover Potential?
If you think about it, our education system has some very weird expectations when it comes to our students.
They’re expected to know the heavy stuff, their life’s path and their true potential by the time they reach 17 years of age. Yet, we won’t trust them when making the smallest decisions, like going to the bathroom.
Clearly, things are a bit messed up here.
The best way to rectify this situation is by understanding this; when it comes to finding one’s path to true potential, there never really is any age limit. Ergo, if we try to limit the time frame for finding one’s potential, we may be causing undue damage to our future generations.
The Problem with ‘Recognizing Your Potential’ Too Early
We make our teenagers take standardized tests so we can see the potential they have, but what we don’t realize is that even these tests can backfire. If your teen is labeled as smart now, they’ll never truly try to broaden their horizons. They’ll stick to what they know best, and will therefore ruin their chances of ever broadening their interests.
What’s more, they’ll overestimate themselves.
Think about it; with everyone saying that they’re accomplished and intelligent now, they’ll become complacent knowing that they’re so smart in everything they do. However, when they get into college – which is another playing field altogether – they’ll become overwhelmed because there will be too much to learn, related to too many subjects which they didn’t even bother learning about.
And that is where their potential will be squandered even further. Because they’ll be so worried about recovering from the pressure, they’ll spend their whole life, trying to perfect one thing while ignoring everything else.
The Role of a Parent in Helping their Youth
It’s no surprise that not many people are truly aware of what they’re capable of. We discover something new about ourselves each day, whether it’s a habit, a talent or a quirk. So how we can expect the youth to know at such an early age – when they don’t even know enough about the world and all its possibilities and limits – what their true potential is and what they’re capable of?
The best thing that we can do is try our hardest to train them and support them so that they have the tools necessary to reach their full potential when the time comes.
We can start small, by teaching them about striving for success, even with uncomfortable situations. For example, if they have a course that’s difficult, instead of teaching them to take the easy way out or simply quitting, we must teach them to challenging themselves, so they can get out of their comfort zone.
Social Norms and Expectations
Repeat this phrase, “I will not let society dictate my child’s future”.
It’s not your fault if this is news to you. We’ve been so conditioned by social norms that we’re often taken by surprise when we realize that most of our actions are to appease those around us.
And that’s a habit we must break out of.
Push this thinking out of your mind of hindering your offspring’s growth because the people deem it unusual or impossible. Instead, provide your teenager with the opportunities that you wish you had. Let them see the possibilities and what they may be able to achieve if they push themselves.
But – and this is very important – do not push your own dreams on them. Again, provide them with all opportunities, but let them choose for themselves.
Support Your Youth!
Sign them up for workshops so they can learn about the world and the possibilities they can avail.
Work with organizations such as Youth with a Future to learn how these urban youth leadership development programs are making a difference.
Help your teen by doing your bit in developing their skills so they can be confident enough to utilize their true potential one day!