Talent – Overdoing It!

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“Hide not your talents. They for use were made. What's a sundial in the shade?” These wise words of Benjamin Franklin hold the truth of talent. What is the point of having a talent if we are going to keep it away from the glare of the world?

“Hide not your talents. They for use were made. What's a sundial in the shade?” These wise words of Benjamin Franklin hold the truth of talent. What is the point of having a talent if we are going to keep it away from the glare of the world.
However that seems to be the exact opposite of what parents today are doing. They are certainly not hiding their child’s talent. Rather they are searching and digging for what may or may not be there. It is like following a rainbow and then bringing a shovel to dig deep for your pot of gold. Are parents pushing their children too much?

Talent is a seed that with the right amount of nurturing components, can flourish and become something big. Is it?

We have all seen the likes of talented people who have gone astray due to neglect from parents, etc. or what-nots – Britney Spears, Anissa Jones. Where does your part as a parent begin and where should it end?

TheAsianParent spoke to *Tiffany Chen (who requested that her real identity not be used), now in her early 20s, who remembers her childhood weekends as a time filled with just about every class.

TheAsianParent (TAP) : Hi Tiffany, how are you?

Tiffany Chen (T.C) : Fine.

TAP : Tell me about yourself.

T.C : I’m currently in the local university, majoring in Theatre Studies. I have 2 older brothers, one in the navy and the other is a dentist in Canada. My parents' run a business together.

TAP : What was your childhood like?

T.C : Complete insanity! I can’t remember a weekend that did not involve being driven to some class or other. Numerous classes! I was suffocated on the weekends. Children looked forward to the weekends. They would be skipping their way home on Friday afternoons while I would be sulking and dragging my feet, with the impending thought that in less than 20 hours I would be sitting and trying to learn some sort of ‘extra ability!’ By Monday, I would feel so exhausted.

TAP : At what age did these classes begin?

T.C : When I was 4, my parents begin with art on Saturdays and speech and drama on Sundays and from then on, they started piling.

TAP : What kind of classes were you enrolled in?

T.C : Everything under the sun! Piano, art, violin, ballet, abacus, computer, netball, tennis and redundant enrichment classes that tired me more than helped me! I’m sure there were more but over the years I have tried to block out that whole period.

TAP : Did you ever ask your parents why you were in so many classes?

T.C : Well, I come from a household that doesn’t answer questions from children. If you are told to do something, you do it. If you are told to go for a class, you go. But, in my opinion, I think being the only girl and the youngest in my family, made my parents want to teach me anything and everything.

TAP : Did your brothers face the same thing?

T.C : Not at all! They were each given piano lessons and tennis lessons. That was all. Talk about unfairness!

TAP : When did it all stop?

T.C : In Primary 6. My parents released me from the torture and I finally knew what it was to relax on a weekend!

TAP : You didn’t find yourself at any benefitting angle from those classes?

T.C : Maybe a couple. Piano lessons and ballet were my favourite. But I could have done without the rest.

TAP : When you have children in the future, how different will you handle your children’s extra talent boosting classes?

T.C : I will make sure they don’t get pushed into anything they dislike and I will limit the classes to a maximum of two and definitely nothing on Sundays!

TAP : Any final words to the readers?

T.C : It’s not about giving your children what you did not have as a kid. Find the one class that your child really enjoys. Choose 5 classes that you would want him to learn and allow him to pick 2 from there. In that way, he will be choosing what you would want him to learn and he is also part of the decision.

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