What plans are in place for your life?
by Audrey Johnson
In the first article, we discussed passions. In this, the second of three parts, we will address pursuits.
As a result of your passion, what pursuits do you find yourself involved in?
What are “pursuits?”
Pursuit is defined as the act of pursuing. To pursue is “to strive to gain; seek to attain or accomplish (an end, object, purpose); to practice ( an occupation, pastime, etc.) (Barnhart, 886).
Our home in the city is graced with a small front garden where over the years our children have harvested strawberries, peas, string beans, tomatoes, and pumpkins. It is adorned with ornamental grass, sunflowers, annuals, perennials, a rosebush, and a Japanese maple tree. As a senior, I applied for and received the William F. Dreer Award from Cornell University’s Department of Floriculture and Ornamental Horticulture. It was a grant that would allow me to work and study abroad for one year after graduation. My proposal was to study horticultural therapy in England. I received money to pursue my passion as a student (scholarships) and as a graduate (Dreer Award) Upon my return to the states, I obtained employment with a private special needs school as a horticulture teacher.
Home schooling was added to my role as a stay-at-home mother, and thus my passion for education continued. My passion for writing allowed me to write for our church’s newsletter as a teen, create home school curriculum, and now, write for College Funding Resource.
My son’s pursuits have included television weather forecast contests, presenting a live television weather forecast, two weather camps (to which he received full scholarships), presenting a weather lesson to campers during his summer employment as a junior counselor, establishing a website: “Weather Earth,” winning school level National Geographic Bees, CN8 “Live with Lynn Doyle”: Presidential Election Viewer Opinions (2008), volunteering for a political campaign, participating in a high school student forum sponsored by a local history museum, and organizing “Junior Olympics,” athletic events for children. He plans to intern with City Council this fall.
My daughter recently completed a work-study placement at a local art college where she worked as an art assistant in the morning and studied Fashion Illustration in the afternoon. She assisted the Arts and Crafts Director at our church’s Vacation Bible School (2009), participated and danced in church Sunday School plays, and choreographed the dances for our church’s Sunday School Easter play. She has established her own store where others can purchase jewelry she has made. Working on a clothing collection and a website for herself and the family also fills her time.
Drawing designs of future clothing ideas, as well transforming the ideas from the drawing pad to the sewing machine is just one step in her desire to be a fashion designer. Another one of her passions is writing poetry. She has submitted poems on three occasions to Poetic Power ( http://www.poeticpower.com/ ) Her work has been accepted for publication in their anthologies on each occasion.
When I asked my nine-year-old daughter about her passions, she said, “I don’t know.” As a parent, I know that the development of her interests will lead her and me to know what her passions are. Researching opportunities for her and her siblings to participate in is an ongoing process. My children also inform me when they see an opportunity to develop their skills and interests.
What might you become involved in so that you can “accomplish your end?” Study the offerings of your neighborhood and surrounding area. Newspapers and web sites written for parents will list a multitude of opportunities for children and teens: museum visits, classes, workshops, contests, camps, private or group lessons, or team participation. Don’t forget to communicate with your family and friends for ideas.
One book that has given me much food for thought is “What High Schools Don’t Tell You” by Elizabeth Wissner-Gross. ( http://www.educationalstrategy.org/) Please be advised that I am suggesting this book because of the lists of programs it offers as a springboard of ideas. Some ideas you will no longer find viable and some ideas will not suit you. Your child’s passion and pursuits will create a package of its own, suitable not for college, but for life.
Do not be eager to sign up for anything and everything. Passions are born in us and birthed out of us. I know God has placed these passions in me and in our children. It is in our time with ourselves that we nurture that passion. The time in outside programs can help something that was meant to be, grow.
Passions will lead to pursuits, and pursuits can lead you to defining a purpose. We will discuss this in the next article. Do you know what your purpose is?
Barnhart, C.L. ed. The American College Dictionary . New York: Random House. 1963.