Nick King's Blog

I've done some pretty cool things, but nothing's as cool as creating our family

Excelling in.... what?

I'm guessing that all parents are never sure of what their children are going to be good at.  

I'm equally guessing though that biological parenthood provides some clues that are not present for the adoptive parent.

 

Neither of my parents were musical.  Nor were my grandparents.  Ergo, much less chance that I would be musical in any way.  Proved conclusively by my removal from the church choir for being tone deaf,.  My placement at the back of any school musical performance where I stood amongst my fellow 'growlers'.  My, mercifully short lived, attempt at becoming a proficient tenor horn player.

My Mum was a good actress though.  Proficient enough for a string of local Am Dram productions.  I'm a fairly good mimic.  I emote quite well.  I've always done OK at the little acting I've done.  So, I guess I'm a little like her.

 

With our own children we find ourselves feeling our way.  Unable to quite deduce what interests might be those that spark their imagination.  That their default response to any invitation to try anything new is 'Yes' actually doesn't help matters.

When I tell other parents that I'm met with cries of anguished envy.  "If only XYZ would have a go at things.  If only they would try new foods.  If only they would go off happily to parties/sports events/play dates."

I've mentioned before our children's amazing confidence.  Borne of a self sufficiency essential for survival in their former lives.  

The copious amounts of information we have about the children's lives pre-adoption, about their birth parents and their wider birth families.  All of this offers very few clues to the natural talents their genetics may carry.

One of their birth mother's was sporty.  Another parent enjoyed martial arts.  The information scant and the evidence even more so.  If dysfunctionality, addiction and neglect were acceptable pass times we would be in the ownership of some very clear biological pointers.

 

So, we have found ourselves flitting from one thing to another.  Trying to find out both what interests our children and that in which they may excel.

Our daughter of course is too young yet for that to be a major task.  She seems to enjoy tumbling and attends Tumble Tots sessions on occasion.  Gymnastics might therefore be her thing.

She has good motor skills too.  Drawing, colouring and penmanship all interest her.  Maybe that too is a future interest.

 

Our son has been through a number of different potential hobbies.

We started with hockey.  Two years of sitting for two hours on a cold bench early each Saturday morning from September to April while he trained with the local under 7's team.  Natural ability?  Not really.  He was keen.  He showed some skill.  But his interest was sapped by the bane of so many children's sports clubs.  The preference shown by the coaches for their, and their friends, children over those not within the circle.

Gymnastics then.  He showed some interest in this.  Some early prowess.  Until the intervention of pre growth spurt puppy fat at an inopportune moment.  A little too out of shape for an inter school competition.  His confidence knocked by his failure.

Football?  Encourage by his friend to join the village team we went along every Friday evening for a year.  Sharing lifts with his friend's parents, I would arrive to collect our son and his chum.  An intense and exciting game would be going on down one end of the pitch, where the plucky village children would be attacking goal and defending with equal determination.

At the other end of the pitch would be our son and his friend.  Looking up at the sky.  Spinning around.  Playing being Harry Potter and Ron Weasley.  In fact, doing anything but playing football.

 

Finally one of his teachers suggested that perhaps he should try for the local church choir.  Not just any church choir, our local church is an Abbey one.  The choir is prestigious.  The commitment intense.  The audition a considerable hurdle.  

I laughed the thought away.  I'd heard our son sing.  The experience hadn't been a tuneful one.

"No," said the teacher, "he really is good, his singing in the choir is really good, I think it's worth him attending an audition."

The result being that a couple of weeks later we found ourselves in the vestry of the local church with the choirmaster, putting our son through his paces.  Impressed, the choirmaster offered him a place there and then.  

From there the interest has led to other music.  He's learning the piano and is soon to start guitar too.  He has learnt to sight read music remarkably quickly, sitting down and hesitantly, but tunefully, playing a piece of Mozart in front of stunned friends.  

All of this our son attacks with enthusiasm.  Determined in his work ethic.  Clear about the outcomes he desires.  Dedicated to the quite punishing schedule practice dictates.  

 

We keep looking for other interests and talents too.  At the moment they amount to cricket (an outcome not dissimilar to football) and French (the accent is awful, but the vocabulary retention surprisingly good).

 

I'm glad we've tried many things.  We've found a natural talent of which there was no suggestion in any of the history we had about our son.  

He revels in it.  

We continue to search for others.

And for our daughter.  I suspect she will leave us in no doubt about her interests.  Debating might well be right up there.