We live in a world where the most “practical” career path seems to lie in fields such as science, math, engineering, architecture, business, and medicine—jobs that promise vast opportunities and high-paying salaries. Meanwhile, people who succeed in the arts are perceived as more of an anomaly, exceptionally talented individuals who defied the odds.
Naturally, most parents would then want their children to gear up for the traditional route rather than pursuing their passion for the arts because the latter is riddled with more obstacles.
But not all young individuals will fit the “traditional” mold—leaving some of them struggling to perform well in academic settings.
Parents play a vital role here since traditional school settings still have a long way to go in providing a venue for young creatives to shine and nurture their talents. But this begs the question, how does one become a parent to an artistic child?
We gathered insights from creative professionals—an artist, TV producer, and musician—on how their own parents helped them find fulfillment in their respective fields. We hope this inspires you and sheds some light on how you can help your child fulfill their potential.
PLAY TO THEIR STRENGTHS INSTEAD OF “FIXING” THEIR WEAKNESSES.
Martti Uy (23, musician) shares,“ ‘You can’t teach a fish to climb a tree.’ I remember my school telling us a story about different animals on some kind of amazing race. At the end of it, no one could really win it all because each animal had their own unique ability. The irony of teaching this lesson is that the school system is still leaning towards students who are academically better than others. Test-taking becomes the sole measure for a ‘good student.’ ”
Similarly, Aia del Mundo (25, TV Producer) expresses, “Traditional thinking says that if you’re not good with academics, then you’re not good at anything.”
Your child’s poor performance in science or math doesn’t have to mean the end of the world. Perhaps it’s time to stop being so hard on them and worrying that their future is doomed because they don’t excel academically. Academics is not the only way to measure their skill and talent. Moreover, hours of hard work and tutoring could only go a long way when your child is not enthusiastic or does not feel empowered in what they do.
This is not to discredit the importance of doing well enough in school to get passing grades and finish one’s education, but it could be a matter of helping your child develop both learning areas.
Moreover, this means being more open to supporting them in areas where there will be most room for growth—in things that they enjoy doing and are already good at.
HELP THEM BUY THE TOOLS.
Invest in the tools they need to pursue their passion—whether it’s a camera, musical instrument, art materials, or extra lessons.
You’re giving them a better chance at excelling in their dream career if you help them develop their skills early on. Whether they follow through or not, this will at least bring them a step closer to finding their true passion.
What matters is that you are allowing them to follow what excites them as they search for their purpose.
According to Martti Uy, “Parents can help their kids find connections, learn more about what they’re doing, look for financial opportunities, and make sure that they’re not mingling with the wrong people.”
He added, “Personally, my dad has always provided me with the tools to make more music. Unintentionally, he gave me the fuel to want to do this for the rest of my life.”
“PRESENCE OVER PRESENTS.”
At the end of the day, what counts the most is being there for your child. The rest is up to them to figure out.
Aia del Mundo shares, “My parents have always been supportive of whatever decision I make. They were 100% present in all contests, performances, art shows, recitals, that I’ve joined. And as a child, that made me feel like I could actually do anything I want. I felt that they trusted that I know what I want and what I can do. They made sure they were there all the time, win or lose. I was never pressured to do great or to be the best.
Also, they never gave me anything, not a single token or gift for my hard work. Through that I learned that the learning in itself is the gift. Presence over presents 100% of the time.”
BELIEVE IN THEM.
It all really comes down to that. When you believe in them, everything else will follow. This will fuel your actions in helping them pursue their passion, where they will be happiest and most successful.
You may not always completely understand the paths they choose to take, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It’s about acceptance and allowing them to figure things out on their own, with your guidance.
Kara Pangilinan (23, Founder & Creative Director of Details Ink.) shares, “My parents have always been supportive of all my endeavors, no matter how strange. I’m thankful that both my parents love and respect the arts. In order to help us be a little braver with our creative output—Trust me, we made many terrible songs and drawings growing up—My dad always told us that we should honor God by sharing our gifts with the world, that if you had a gift you should hone it, as a thank you to Him. That kind of helped.
But, the most helpful thing was that they believed in us. That kind of made us believe a little bit in ourselves too.”
Visit the Parent Portal for advice and information on helping your child navigate their way through senior high school, college and their careers.