I'm only 2 years old, and I’ve already got a pretty special talent. I’m too little to understand how amazing my talent is, but I do understand that I’ve got a family who loves and supports me.
Why do I shoot baskets? Because it’s fun, and because it makes my family smile. My older brothers and sister clap and holler for me. They set up my shots. My parents film me and cheer for me. For every shot I make, I miss a bunch. But I don’t care: my family is there. I know they love me whether I make it or not.
Will I still be the amazing basketball baby when I’m 3, or 4, or 5? Will I lose my talent once I grow out of this cute little toddler body? I don’t know. But I know my family will still love me. They will still cheer for me.
See that smile I’m wearing on my second birthday? It’s not because I’m the Great Basketball Baby. It’s because to my family, I'm just the greatest. Period.
Parents, remember to love your kids through their talents — not because of them. Nurturing talents is a wonderful way to share love with your children, but it's tricky to do it right.
Helping your children develop their talents is crucial because it shows them that what is important to them is important to you.
It shows your son you love him enough to believe he can accomplish his goals.
It shows your daughter you have taken the time to notice what is special about her — what makes her different from her siblings.
The trick is to show love to your child through his talents, not because of them
Love him by being there, whether he wins or loses.
Love her by complimenting her hard work, rather than her inborn gift.
Love him by letting him see your genuine joy in watching him progress, whether he’s a star or not.
Love her by teaching her to show respect for her competition, win or lose.
Love him through the losing streaks.
Love her even when she wants to give up.
Love him by teaching his siblings to support him, rather than envy him, and by teaching him to cheer for them in return.
And love her when her star dims — when she gets passed up by the competition, and doesn’t find joy in her talent anymore. Let her move on.
But never love them because of their talents. Never let them wonder whether you would love them less if they didn’t make the shot.
Emily is a writer and editor, with over 10 years of experience and an MA in writing & publishing from Emerson College in Boston (alma mater of the Fonz). She's got even more years of experience in parenting, but still isn't sure what she's doing.