My mantra for parenting—concerning my children's future—was (and is) "encourage their natural strengths and strengthen their innate weaknesses." My reasoning: their strengths will probably play to their future passions/work and their weaknesses will hinder them. So, if I could identify early and help them learn to manage and grow these areas, it would benefit them.
This sounds logical, practical and efficient, but as any parent knows, it is not easy. It takes some evaluation and intention. Yet it is always worth the effort. However, there are many thoughts and actions behind this simple platitude.
Recently, I came upon a blog post that simplified and put illustration to this concept. With Ashley Campbell's permission, over at "Under the Sycamore", I am delighted to pass this "Sweet Spot" example along. Its original author is unclear: her husband explained it to her, and he had heard it from someone else; otherwise, I would be happy to cite the designer.
A person's sweet spot is the place where their skills and passions intersect with opportunities. (see illustration above) This is the place where people have the tools necessary, and a desire and a place to use them. Childhood is the best time to try out new experiences, exploring interests and considering all the potential life holds.
Experiences develop passions. Do you recall the science experiment that almost caught your partner's hair on fire, but wowed your senses? How about the piano at Grandma's that drew you like a magnet? Remember, the basketball hoop down the street that called your name? Recall the urge to take things apart or construct things? The exposure to these things, or ones similar, sparked an interest and, one day, may have become a passion. Perhaps more skills needed to be developed, but the experience and opportunity created a lifelong passion...a sweet spot; our comfortable place. It helps define who you are—part of who you were meant to be.
Childhood is the perfect playground to find your child's sweet spot. A multitude of possibilities are available and a million connections await. Watch for that glimmer in their eyes, or a place where their curiosity abounds. Paying attention to unique skills and passions then plugging them into opportunities will assist children in discovering their sweet spots. This is not only a place his or her unique personality, gifts and talents will thrive, but also the place where life purpose can be found.