In my family we, the parents, did not set goals for our children, but once they had found their own interests and talents we encouraged them along those lines. Our elder son, Wally, loved music so we saw that he had lessons with good teachers on the piano and flute. In college he majored and got his degree in music. He organized a group of fellow musicians and conducted a symphony concert for his senior project and it was a rousing success. Were it not for the draft into military service during the Vietnam war, he might have become a professional musician. Instead he became an officer and pilot in the U.S. Air Force, a career that lasted for 28 years. He loved that too but music is still his avocation.
David, our second son, showed an aptitude for fixing things and inventing other things. At a very young age he always had to know how things work, even if he had to take them apart to find out. Since he was able to get them back together properly we encouraged him. He also loved the theater and dancing. Today his inventive talents are serving well in Silicon Valley but he's also going to ballroom dancing classes.
Robin, our daughter, was an artist from early childhood. She has made art her career and is doing very well with the promise of becoming highly successful. We never told her that an art career would mean starvation in a highly competitive world. She found that out on her own and learned how to market her work. She isn't starving and she's making a name for herself. Several patrons even collect her work.
To those of us who have not discovered our talents or, having discovered them, don’t know how to improve them, I say, it’s never too late. As for myself, I’m just now getting serious about clay sculpture. I make faces that look like real people and as for writing, I have one published book under my belt. and continue to write in my journal nearly every day. I play the piano for my own pleasure, content to leave that as my goal. If fame and fortune come my way I’ll be most surprised and, I suspect, not too happy about that. Posthumously would be all right. I’d be glad to have my children capitalize on what I've done if it's good, but there's not much likelihood of that either. I'm not apt to lose my best talent of all, which is simply fiddling around with the things I like to do and progressing an inch at a time. Being driven is not one of them.
I can admire those who go far in the pursuit of their talents, or any distance at all. The point is to keep going. Life must be dull without the recognition of some talent in oneself, even if it’s only a penchant for tidiness. Which reminds me of a favorite aunt of mine. Auntie Dorris was a beautiful woman whose main talent, if you could call it that, was reading. She could read a book a day. She used to tell of the time her mother had a group of women over for afternoon tea. Dorris was in the kitchen helping out. The guests were bragging about the talents of their offspring. Dorris slowed down a bit and cocked her ear. It was Grandmother’s turn. “Viola sings beautifully. She could be an opera singer someday. Kenneth is graduating with honors from engineering college and he plans to build bridges in China. Faith is a fine pianist. What a joy it is to hear her play!" Here Grandmother paused. ..."and Dorris...well, ummm, (pause)" Then her voice brightened, "No one can clean up a kitchen like my Dorris!" Thank goodness Auntie Dorris thought that was funny! Being neat is a talent too. Besides she was beautiful.
“Whatever you are by nature, keep to it; never desert your line of talent. Be what nature intended you for and you will succeed.” (Sydney Smith, 1771-1845)