The Clues of Essence (A Child’s Passion)

If we pay no attention to the things our children are passionate about, they may pay no attention to those things as well.

Our children are more than what we teach and shape them to be. There is some unique essence within them that is always trying to express itself. Our job, as parents, is to recognize this essence, often manifested as passion, and to foster it, nurture it, and encourage it, so that our children can grow up to be the best versions of who they are meant to be.

Children’s interests change and evolve as they grow. These interests are often inspired as much by whim as by outside influence. If we are willing to pay attention, we will observe that, within these changes, remain some constants.

These constants of interest and passion are clues into the essence of who our children are as individuals, beyond all outside influence. The secret to a life of contentment and fulfillment is recognizing our unique essence, concentrating on that, developing that, and channeling that to create positive change in the world. The secret to parenting is doing this for and with our children.


Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.

Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Artwork by Ana, except where otherwise noted

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