Next up -
How does your daughter create a "Passion Project"?
I will repeat this as often as I can. I will continue to include the following little tidbit in every blog post:
Your teenage daughter does not need to find her "passion" in life at this point. Sure, it's called a "Passion Project", but what she is "passionate" about today may change by the time the new month begins! And I use the term "passion" very lightly here! The goal of our Passion Project Cohorts is to provide a space for students to explore and become curious about the world around them. So, how might your teen find this passion? I hope you find the following suggestions helpful to start the process!
Have your daughter do the following: Nothing. Yup, that's right. Have her do nothing. OK, well, almost nothing.
The youth of today have a lot to say (my reggae music lovers will find that line quite familiar - hehee - ...thank you for those lyrics Musical Youth!). The youth of today have a lot on their minds and a lot goes on around them. They are undeniably more connected than we were as an older, iPhone-free generation. They are constantly being bombarded with breaking news, always connected with their peers via social media, and never unavailable to their closest friends thanks to texting and instant messaging. Clearly, the problem isn't a lack of information for our teen daughters. On the contrary, they can become completely overwhelmed by the vast amount of information they must process in their daily lives.
So, to begin, I'd like you to ask your daughter to do nothing. No smartphones allowed. Put her computer away. Don't even let her open up a book. The first thing I want you to ask her to do is to sit. There is literally no prescribed task for her. She doesn't have to start reflecting on life or practice meditation. Her task here is to just sit. The only requirement is that she sits somewhere comfy. Why? It is in this space that she will begin to free her mind to wander.
Allow your daughter to determine an effective amount of time for "doing nothing". Fifteen minutes? An hour every other day for a week? Allow her to find her own level of comfort in "nothing".
Give your daughter space to scribble a bunch of words on a sheet of paper. Or doodle some drawings. Seriously.
Your daughter's ability to complete step one (above) is critical for our next step. Step one was to let her mind wander. Now, she is going to put some of those thoughts on paper. Again, no smartphones. No computer. No books. No prompts. Have your daughter simply sit with a sheet of paper and a writing utensil. Whatever pops into her head as she sits alone, have her jot it down in whatever format she wants. There are no rules (well, besides the ones I just outlined -lol). She can draw what she thinks of, or she can create a mind map, an outline, or a bunch of random words in the shape of a Christmas tree. If she just wants to scribble lines on paper, that's ok, too!
Send your daughter out into the real world for a day!
I'm pretty sure this already happens - she goes to school, right? Of course, she's been out in the real world. Well, what's different now is that you are sending her into the world for a day with a small purpose: have her look into her day with curiosity. As she walks or drives to school, what does she notice? What stories pop out to her? Does she wonder how certain plants are able to thrive in an environment with air pollution at such a high level? Does she find herself thinking about what other students at her international school ate for breakfast that day and how different it might be from what she had? As she studies in her geometry class, does she find her mind wanders into looking at shapes differently with a new curiosity?
Repeat number two. Have her go back to scribbling on a sheet of paper. This time, she can use actual words. YAYYYY!!!
After your daughter has had ample opportunities to let her mind wander, now it's time to put some thoughts onto paper. Give her space to write down all the things she found that she was curious about. What reflections does she have now? What seems to spark an interest in her? Perhaps it's social justice issues. Perhaps she noticed that she found herself spending time wondering about how things are made - the clothes we wear, the buildings that we live in, or the foods that we eat. As she wonders about the foods we eat, she may find her mind drifting and she may find herself wanting to learn more about gardening, or she may discover that learning how to cook foods that highlight her own heritage would be interesting to her. Interesting things happen when we let our minds take over and become curious about the world around us!
Follow our blog to hear more about how passion projects can help your daughter thrive. Enroll in our Passion Projects Cohort to become part of a group of curious 9th, 10th, and 11th-grade students!
Until next time, Momma!!
Parent Coach Angie @ Empowered Parents Empowering Daughters