Finding something my child is good at!

Finding something my child is good at!
Simon Forbes in action

This is a quote from the parent of a talented photographer, 3D-animation artist and a teacher when he seemed to be not very good at the academic subjects at school! Simon Forbes’ parents were determined to ‘find something Simon is good at’ and gave him a camera.

I was very touched when Simon shared his story at a talk hosted by ‘We Are Observers’. Simon is well-respected in his field. He led a group of students to put on the 3D Light Show ‘Photonic State’ at the NSW Governor’s House as part of the 2018 VIVID. Their project was awarded the AEAF Gold Award 2018 student category.  

When I was working as a paediatric speech pathologist many years ago, I often got asked a question from the very concerned parents of my clients, ‘Will s/he ever speak?’ My answer would be something in the effect of ‘I would try my best to help your child develop his/her full potential!’

When I heard parents of teenagers tell me they were worried about whether they picked the right subjects for their HSC (High School Certificate), I would ask them ‘What does your child enjoy doing? Which are his/her favourite subjects?’. In my own experience as a mum and my professional training as a speech pathologist, I am confident to say ‘whatever your child is good at and enjoy doing, try your very best to nurture that passion, support him/her to fulfill that DREAM!’

Talking about supporting young people to fulfil their ‘DREAMS’, here is a heart-warming tale. This is a vivid description of Lucas Sin, one of the Food & Wine Best Chefs 2021.

Lucas Sin in front of his restaurant ‘The Gentleman( Jūnzi ) Kitchen in New York.

Lucas Sin opened his first restaurant when he was 16, in an abandoned newspaper factory in his hometown of Hong Kong. Despite spending his Yale undergraduate years in the Cognitive Science and English departments, Lucas spent his weekends running restaurants out of his dorm, known as Y Pop-up. He backpacked and cooked his way through Japan, before settling at Kikunoi Honten in Kyoto. He’s also spent time at Modernist Cuisine in Seattle and Michelin-starred kitchens in Hong Kong and New York.” (Excerpt from Food & Wine Best Chef 2021).

In 2012, Locus started his bachelor degree in cognitive science at Yale around the time when I did my post-doc there. Ten years on, he is seriously working on a PhD in global Chinese cooking.

Jinzi Kitchen, the corner of 113th and Broadway in New York

行行出狀元 (Háng háng chū zhuàngyuán) There is a champion in every profession! Is a well-known Chinese idiom. I found it ironic that Chinese parents often ignore this Chinese wisdom and demand their children to choose ‘doctors, lawyers and accountants’ as their career! This is totally against the principle of ‘finding something my child is good at’!

If you know a young person (aged 14 – 25 yr) and a bit puzzled about which subjects to pick for their university entrance examinations or equivalent, which career path to follow or are stuck at a crossroad, send them to me. I’m happy to listen, happy to mentor young people to develop their full potential! I conclude by sharing Simon Forbes’ own reflection, as a teacher, on his ‘gentle tapping with a hammer’ approach with his students.

‘If I treat them gently and well, there will be huge improvement, as opposed to just bashing away at them, trying to force them to do what I want!’

An excerpt from Simon Forbes – My Favourite Tool

Gentle tapping with a hammer!

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