Passions Without Labels or Stigmas

Recently I wrote a post series on my blog about strewing. For my final post, I told how my middle daughter Denna followed her passions, with me strewing along the way, through so many topics and interests that it would be hard to measure how much she learned from the experience.

My kids have so many passions that it would be hard for me to pinpoint any that particularly surprised me. I am a variety-loving person. When I was young I bounced through hobbies and interests just as quickly as they do.

In fact, one of the reasons I love unschooling is that my kids have the freedom to have a spectrum of curiosities without any pressure to fit into a certain “standard” or stereotype.

Expectations and Gender Roles

When I wanted to be a ophiologist (snake scientist) as a kid, or when I collected baseball cards, I was automatically labeled as a “tomboy.” I didn’t see how those activities had anything to do with what gender you were, I just loved snakes and collecting cards.

I was also expected, since I grew up on a farm, to automatically enjoy some things like – well – farming.

My parents were great at allowing my sister and me the freedom to explore our interests. They usually encouraged us to pursue our passions and would monetarily support us as well. For that, I thank them.

However, sometimes I wonder if I would have kept some of my interests if influences at school didn’t cause me to see them as abnormal or negative.

My kids have the freedom to pursue any interest. And believe me, their pursuits are as varied as it comes.

Raven – 12 years old

Raven of course has her long-lasting passions for horses and art. She draws and doodles all the time. But she also has an interest in bugs, lizards, and all other animals.

She loves pop music. When she chose a class to participate in at the teen center on our military post, she chose Hip Hop Dance.

Active, artistic, and bubbly would describe her well. But Raven is fiercely loyal and responsible too. She is head-over-heels in love with babies and she can’t wait to be old enough to babysit.

To add more layers to her interests, she is also an avid gamer and graphic novel reader. All of my kids love comic books and their favorite is Justice League.

On top of all that, Raven is my novel writer and history buff.

Can you see why it is hard to label her by what she is passionate about?

Denna – 7 years old

Most would consider Denna to be the ultimate girly-girl. She loves pink, ponies, and princesses. Her two biggest passions are singing and fashion. Playing online dress-up games can keep her busy for hours.

But Denna has a rough side as well. She absolutely loves to get dirty outside. Mud, rain, and snow do not deter her.

One interest that she picked up that completely caught me off guard was algebra. It all began with the book A Wrinkle In Time, some Google searches for Nikola Tesla, and a Life of Fred book.

Her main method of learning is through audio input, so picking up new languages is very natural for her. She was passionate about learning Japanese for a while, and still knows quite a few phrases. Now that we are moving to Korea, she has been learning Korean with me through podcasts.

Gaius – 2 years old

Gaius is still a little young to determine a lot of things he can be passionate about. Right now he is a rough-and-tumble boy who loves climbing, trucks, dirt, and robots.

But I know that when he starts to explore more topics that he won’t be hindered by the stigma of what he “should” be doing or learning. He will be unique in his talents and tastes.

One of the biggest lies I ever bought into was that my writing would never amount to anything permanent or successful. I gave up on writing for years because I knew it was not a “real job” that I could pursue. Now I see how false that perception was. Writing is one of my greatest passions and I am now making extra income for my family simply by writing about the things I love most – one of them being unschooling.

So don’t discourage your kids from exploring a wide array of passions. It exposes them to the world and may perhaps be the spark they need to create or add to something wonderful.

~ Aadel

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