If you have ever had the chance to experience an existential crisis (like some people over the age of 20 have at some point in their life) one activity comes to mind: reading a book.
Whenever a person hits a low - they engage in an act of selfish, celebratory knowledge consumption that brings them to a trail of history, self-improvement and an assortment of biographical and autobiographical materials that will make any English professor proud. It happens to the best of us - and it brings you closer to who you truly are.
It seems that when parents look at helping their child realize their potential, they engage in selfish acts of trendy activities that show little to no value to a child's natural interests or curiosity. In the last few years, I have seen parents enroll their children in the most esoteric program timelines that the end result is a child that is a master of nothing. In my role as a professional, I hesitate to give advice on what they want to do with the little time that is spent with their child because at the end of the day, it is the parent that will answer for everything that they have scheduled for the child.
In no way am I stating that some children are gifted or truly talented. I've met many bright individuals and have attended coveted leadership programs where many of my former colleagues and associates have chaired, directed and overseen research and program development programs around the country. However, there is a hidden drive and a true path to success that separates one successful child from a child whose parent is the only driving factor to a child's purported path to success. Forcing a child to do something that is not in their true nature shows more of an insecurity upon the parent than helping a child find their true talent.
If a child is to be truly gifted, it takes more than years of driving them to and from an activity for them to be drawn to what will make them the world's best (fill in the blank) that will shape their future. In order for a child to be gifted, a parent must be a gifted parent in understanding their child and learning how to balance what they need and want their child to be with a set of priorities that focus on emotional/social/physical and intellectual well-being. No child wants to be coerced into a life of empty promises and meaningless dollar a pound trophies that will be a figment of their imagination in 30 years. They'll remember the lessons that they have learned along the way from people who teach them that the road to success is hard, and nothing in life should ever be taken for granted.