OPINION| By Dickson Tumuramye
Everyone in this world was created for a special purpose. God gave each one of us unique attributes with qualities that can take us to our destinies. Some were born to be leaders, sports men and women, athletes, business people, preachers among other. I believe all of us have exceptional talents and abilities but which keep hidden because we lack opportunities to put them into proper use.
The challenge with parents is to easily identify such attributes in their children early enough and nurture them to a level where they would feel proud of their children. We only concentrate on academic excellence but fail to pay attention to skills development. When our children develop talents, sometimes we fail to take note of what they are up to.
There are some parents who are quick to judge children and condemn them from doing certain things again. At a time a child is at a discovery stage, you fear that they will get spoilt, they will be hurt, or destroy your things. And you become very protective yet you are hindering this child from discovering who s/he is. You might have a child who plays football a lot and instead of encouraging him to grow into a greater footballer, you start complaining how this child is stubborn. A child can never be stubborn but very active.
During my childhood, we used to make football with banana fibres and we would play for most of our time. But my dear, we were beaten many times and we were being accused for escaping from home, wasting time and dodging house chores. We were never guided on how best we should utilize time properly or be encouraged in any way. I now still like football but the best I can do now is to cheer up others. My passion for football was destroyed like that because my parents failed to recognise my gift and instead threatened to beat me if they dare see me playing it.
Don’t sit on your child’s interest and don’t be over guarding but nurture it. When your child tries to play with your phone without your permission, don’t shout at him/her as if he/she was stealing it. We are in an information and technology (IT) generation. The best is to teach your child how to use that phone responsibly. You should take time to listen to child on what they would prefer to do apart from academics. The little ones might have many choices which keep changing as they grow. Nonetheless, try to expose them to different skills depending on their choice. This is because their mind is still excited over many skills and they want to discover. As you do it, you will be able to identify where they belong and guide them accordingly.
The youth in our houses need to be introduced to new skills and interest them in something which they can explore rather than being redundant at home watching TV every time. Help them to align their potential so that they get to learn that this world wants people who are creative enough and can use their mind sharply.
Don’t suppress your children’s gifts from growing. If Ms. Betty Nakibuuka Senyonjo, the mother of young gospel artist Gloria Mulungi Senyonjo did not nurture her daughter’s gift, Gloria would not have released her first song at around the age of 3 year old and many more thereafter.
Let us learn to give our children responsibilities and entrust them with big tasks which can open them to challenges. Train your first born children to know that they should demonstrate their potential as first borns and to be in charge of others. They need to understand that they are not ordinary people like the rest by the virtue of their position in your family.
When we are deliberate in helping our child discover their potential in life, they will live to look beyond their current abilities. You will also appreciate that our children have talents which can sell them to the whole world.
The writer is a child advocate, Kampala