Thursday, August 8, 2013

Helping Your Busy Boy Find His Passion

When I originally thought about my 5 Days of Homeschooling topic (Homeschooling One Busy Boy) I wanted to talk about some of the challenges and rewards that come along with Homeschooling an Only Child (who is also really busy and a boy). 

The possibilities are endless! And a bit overwhelming when you think about. 

There is really no way I (a girl who can turn even a simple recipe into a novel) I can narrow down all of that into just a few days of blog posts. one thing figured out….BAM! That thing goes crazy and everything falls apart.

One thing I have figured out is that sometimes I need to just let Josiah go. I need to let him be his own person. 

We are all different (obviously).  I’m a girl. I’m a girl who really doesn’t understand why my son and my husband feel the need to wrestle in the middle of the living room floor. They beat up on each other. Why? 

I would rather sit quietly with my book, contemplating the deeper things of life.  Like what does “Boomshakalaka” mean exactly and who will play the next Doctor Who (“they” seemed to have decided already and apparently didn’t take my suggestion of Colin Firth seriously). 

Josiah is dyslexic and Busy (my code word for ADHD). There are some challenges in raising a boy with learning disabilities. Obviously. One piece of advice I have heard over and over again is to encourage Josiah to find something he loves doing and encourage him in that. 

It has been quite a process. 

This is the conversation I initially had with myself in my head.

How are we supposed to help Josiah find his passion...what he loves to do? We have limited resources financially. He always seems just a bit awkward with sports. For one, he is not competitive and doesn’t understand the whole scene. He loves music, but it’s not like he’s picked up a guitar and started going out all Chet Akins on us.  What if he finds out he just really not good at much of anything? 

It was very tempting at first to throw everything at Josiah. My husband, who played Little League faithfully as a child, wanted to sign him up for ball. But then I had a major health crisis and our lives wound up being topsy turvy for quite some time. We looked around at what other kids were doing.
We had homeschooling friends who had their kids in orchestra, hip hop, karate, hockey…all at the same time. It sounded exhausting. We just wanted Josiah to find something he loved to do. 

I think my husband is genius. No really…He is also The Studly Muffin. He started taking Josiah on “Guys Days” on his day off. They started by going to hit golf balls at the driving range. Would you know that we discovered we had a little golfer our hands? He started naming his stuffed animals after famous golfers (first Build-a-Bear’s name was Retieff Goosen) and pets after golf scores (we had a dauschand called Bogey). The pace of the sport of perfect for him. And he could spend time with Dad.

Josiah playing the course. His bag is almost as big as he is.

He still loves golf, but isn’t the protégée I had imagined that he would turn into. In typical kid fashion he has found other things that have brought a smile to his face. 

A few years ago, we put him in swim lessons. Naturally, we wanted him to be able to swim. We didn’t start him out as early as we would have liked (again, circumstances were not in our favor). I think it was after that first week of swim lessons that he decided he never wanted to leave the water again. Last year he got to join the swim team. 

Josiah and the Free Style

He has also decided that for right now that he doesn’t enjoy competing. I think one of these days that might change, but for now I have to be content with his decision. He is still gaining so much from just being on the team. He is learning discipline and hard work. Have you ever seen those little kids swim laps? Good Grief! It makes me tired just watching. He loves his team mates and loves learning new ways to make his Butterfly Stroke better and his dive a little cleaner. My husband and I have to be content with that.

So here is a little bit of advice for those of you who have Busy Boys in your life (who want to help them find their passion).

Exposure. You can’t know what they might love unless you expose them to a variety of different things. I am not suggesting you start signing them up for every arts and crafts class being held at the Art Museum. At least try one…What they wind up loving might be a complete surprise. Maybe you have a wonderful Chef in the making and you don’t even know it! Josiah loves to cook. He recently learned how to make scrambled eggs on his own. He was very proud. 

Keep in mind that if tomorrow Josiah shows an aptitude for Ping Pong Playing that we (as a family) will not start directing our entire lives and resources in that direction. 

The boy is 11. He has a lot of time to decide if he wants to be dedicated to Ping Pong playing (not that he’s shown even the slightest interest in Ping Pong…it is just an example). 

Training. Take for example, Exhibit A. 

Josiah and his first solo attempt at Scrambled Eggs.
Josiah the Chef. I want Josiah to be able to take care of his nutritional needs. The fact that he enjoys wielding a knife doesn’t hurt. With anything. Playing a sport, exploring the culinary arts, painting a picture…ect. One must be willing to put the work into it. I have had a bump or two in the world concerning this one. We  have a little guitar in the corner. Josiah got it for Christmas a few years ago. He picks it up occasionally and "rocks out." I have decided that this is the year for Josiah and the guitar. It won’t play itself. I think I’ve realized that I have a little bit of the former Music Teacher Angst. I have yet to decide what that is, but I think I have a problem. I have been so worried that it is going to be extra hard for him because of the dyslexia. I also recognize that not everything comes easy…Most things take training and hard work. He has proven that he can work hard. If we find out that it’s not his thing, I can let it go gracefully. 

Think Out of the Box. I think it is so important not to put your son in a box. He doesn’t have to do everything everyone else does. And really. Aren’t us homeschoolers nonconformists by nature? It’s okay to be different. Maybe his interests lie somewhere outside the box.

 Just Let it Go, Mama. It’s maybe not his thing.  I am constantly telling myself this! I love drama. I served as a stage manager and administrative assistant for a children’s theatre for a couple of seasons. I loved it I saw kids blossom and grow. I was sure that when Josiah got older he would be a perfect candidate. He is a natural ham. He is a good actor. He just really hates being in front of a large crowd (which is probably some of the issue with the swim meets). I’ve had to let that one go.

 I’ve also made mistakes in the opposite direction. Last year he got to run a small marathon with his Aunt Deb and Uncle Mike. He loved it. He asked me if he could start running/walking some walk/runs on his own. I told him I would sign him up for the Zombie Run (held locally). The deadline came and went. Why? Because I thought it really didn’t sound like that much fun. Who walks or runs for fun? I thought for sure he would change his mind. Guess what. He hasn’t. He is still talking about how he missed it…and I have yet to sign him up for another race.

I think when it comes down to it that we all need things we love to do. As parents of these special kids it is so important to help them find their niche. We just need to be sure we aren’t helping them fall into ours. Today at the Y I got a brochure for, you guessed it, the Zombie Run.
Guess who is going to be filling out the registration form this weekend.


  1. Some great thoughts. I'm pinning this one since I have two boys to decipher. :)

  2. I'm having to tell myself continually with my older son to "Let it go." Only I sing it to the tune of "Let it Go" from Frozen since that's my three year old daughter's favorite movie! Thanks for sharing this one. I'm glad to hear I'm not alone :-)


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