Eyeball your child

Eyeball your child until you can see what is really important. Stalk them if you must…

So Kev and I are planning a trip without the kids. We fondly refer to it as our 2014 Sleep Fest. Sometimes we call it the Route 62 road trip, and in moments of sympathy we talk about the road trip during which my poor parents…. That last sentence just hangs in the air while we shake our heads sadly, with a look of grave concern on our faces. It will not be an easy week for my parents.

To help them I will make up a survival kit. It will consist of several packs of band aids (Bailey calls it her stickers), at least one hosepipe and several meters of rope. This survival kit is a result of me eyeballing them to see what is really important to them. Not what I think they will enjoy playing with or what I think will bring them security, but the things that really will make them happy. At the same time as me planning this kit, a friend told me the following story that just reinforced for me the need to really see your child. See what makes their chubby little cheeks go all pink, what makes them get lost in what they are doing; what activity causes flow to take place for them.

The friend’s name is Hook and today he is a team lead in the Art department where I work. He expressed what he loved as a child, someone noticed the talent and focused on it, and today he wakes up daily to continue doing what he loves.

He drew the picture below, it is of his older brother racing Moto X (remember that? How cool that was?). His Art teacher was the wonderful catalyst who did the eyeballing first; she made his parents aware and they then ran with it by simply allowing it and nurturing it. The teacher kept this artwork and only gave it to his mom after he had finished high school.

When Hook sent me this picture he said “for those with kids; take note of the things they do and enjoy and nurture it”.

I look at my kids and I try to figure out what they really enjoy. For Kai the love he feels for his rope is a strange love affair indeed, but who knows, perhaps some future career will involve extreme rope skills or something. Bailey loves plasters or ‘stickers’ as she calls them. And while I can do very little with this observation right now, I can ensure that there is always an ample supply of plasters. Whatever skills they are honing, there is pure enjoyment there. And with pure enjoyment comes talent. From research we know that if you enjoy 75% of your job, you should also be good at it.

Perhaps as parents we need to apply this kind of focus when we are with our kids. After school and on weekends, put down your phone and just look at them. Not all of us can home school our children as the little boy in the clip below, and I do realize that we cannot all be good at the things we enjoy, but we can all notice what our children are drawn to and we can assist them and guide them to make the most of it. The boy in this clip, when asked what he wants to be one day, answers with ‘I want to be happy’. Don’t we all? Is this not the ultimate goal and what we want for our little people? Simply to be happy adults one day.


Karen Jackson

I did my honours in child psychology at Tuks, this broke my heart to the extent that I chose to not continue along this path. I currently work at an IT company as soft skills facilitator and psychometrist. I would describe myself as a vegetarian blogger who dream about writing all day long. After work I herd cats in the happy zoo we call home while I continue to learn about this parenting journey.

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