Yesterday was Mother’s Day, and so I’ve been reflecting a lot on multipotentiality and motherhood—well, parenthood really.
In the Puttytribe, there’s a group that has formed for multipotentialite parents. It’s a space where the puttypeep can discuss the challenges of raising healthy multipotentialite children, and also find ways of fitting their own interests in with their family responsibilities.
As a parent (which I am not), how do you encourage your child to embrace their multipotentiality? Is there a way to preempt them from feeling stifled and broken by the ubiquitous Question?
How do you teach a child that they can be, not only anything they want to be, but everything?
The next generation of multipotentialites
I’m not going to get into the whole nature vs nurture debate, but my general belief is that most kids are inclined towards exploring many subjects, having endless curiosity, they’re incredibly creative, etc. In other words, most kids start off as little multipotentialites. The key is encouraging them to stay that way as they grow up in the face of tremendous pressure to conform and fit themselves into a box.
Three ways that you can support and encourage your multipotentialite child
Like I said, I’m not yet a parent (unless you count this little one). However, through reflecting on my own upbringing, I’ve found that there are three big things you can do to help your kid embrace their many passions.
1. Expose them to a wide range of cultural activities
How’s a kid to know that they enjoy frogs and Fimo, if nobody brings them to the swamp (or at least the library), and shows them how much fun it is to mold stuff out of florescent clay?
As a parent, it’s your responsibility to introduce your kid to some of the brilliance that this world has to offer. I remember apple picking, watercolours, and The Magic Flute. Do you think being exposed to these things shaped me? You betcha.
But it’s more than that. You don’t need to introduce your kid to every idea in human history. Simply exposing them to a few, will teach them something greater– that it’s okay to learn for the sake of learning. You’ll also be showing them that there’s a wide world out there for them to explore.
Once they start to learn about the world through school and from their friends, you won’t need to do much in the way of exposing them to new ideas. Kids are just naturally curious. They’ll come up with new fascinations on their own. At this point, you simply encourage and support those interests (within reason of course).
2. Embrace your own multipotentiality
The absolute best thing you can do for your children, is show them through example, that you are not ashamed of being a multipotentialite. Let them see you having a blast engaging in your various passions, learning, expanding your mind, and being creative.
My mom played the violin when I was little, and that absolutely influenced my decision to pick up the violin myself. My dad played the piano, went to tennis once a week, and competed in Scrabble competitions around the world. While I didn’t pick up any of those specific interests, just seeing both of my parents having fun with their diverse interests, taught me that it’s ok for me to do the same.
3. Invite your kid to participate in your projects with you
Introducing your child to your own interests is a great way to both expose them to new activities, and show them that you’re proud of being a multipotentialite.
A friend of mine once told me that growing up, her mom always seemed to enjoy their trips to the museum more than the kids did. Sometimes I think that being a parent is an excuse to do all kinds of fun stuff that would otherwise seem “inappropriate,” like finger painting, jumping on giant inflatable castles, and turning the living room into a giant tent.
So have fun, use your kids as an excuse to explore your own emerging interests, and show them by example, that they never need to feel ashamed for being who they are… All that they are.
Finally, on this post-Mother’s Day day, I’d just like to say thanks mom (and dad) for helping me become the multipotentialite that I am. Also, thanks to all of you wonderful multipotentialite parents in the Puttylike community. Your kids don’t know how lucky they are!
Do you have any tips for raising healthy multipotentialite children? Or if you don’t have kids yourself, what were some things that your parents did to help encourage your multipotentiality?
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