By Anne-Lise Reymond
A friend told me that as a child, she used to draw on a sheet of paper a keyboard with white and black keys. She would then sing while playing her imaginary piano. Today, she is a pianist. I also remember having had a young neighbor whose main activity consisted of pulling pieces of wood with a miniaturized tractor. He would painstakingly spend hours on that toy, where he had chained 10 centimeters long small contacts. Today, he enjoys the ownership of a lumberjack company.
These two stories highlight two different tracks, and each case shows an early interest for a know-how, an activity. That interest has been and remains for them as well as for each human being the required motivation to move forwards in the life. Today, they have more than a job: they practice an activity they have chosen, and which yields a well-being and equilibrium great satisfaction. In fact, early passions are often the best foundation for the future.
Curiosity, this amazement faculty, is characteristic of almost all young children. They bite into the world with their eyes, their hands. A poster in the street, dead leaves, a bird: they carefully observe everything with vested interest. Such a frame of mind should not be exclusive to children, because curiosity, the desire to learn, to do, to undertake, to explore reflects human nature. Yet, keeping or not that frame of mind depends a great deal on people in charge of our education. Those people can be roughly classified into two broad categories: some who enliven the flame and others who, on the contrary, smother it.
Our two characters were lucky to be educated by people who, somehow, enliven their early flame. Their early passion was constantly encouraged through words, appropriate attitude as well as acts. Actually, an uncle had rented a piece of land for a season for tree falling with the lumberjack to-be. In the same vein, a lady in the village had offered our musician to-be her first piano lessons.
Many families would have undermined the boy’s passion. So much more would have preferred a « real job » for their daughter, as they would have considered her passion for the piano as short-lived. The simplest negative attitude can be enough to put off the flame. Therefore, education is about being able to cheer choices which do not necessarily meet ours, however without accepting any children’s whims.
In a certain way we are educated and we educate everywhere and at every moment. A destiny can be definitely influenced even by shortest meetings. This is why every time we are with others in general and with youngsters in particular, we should always enliven that flame…and never, never smother it.