Judgement Free Interest Zones

By Donna Shea14657447_1999548683604964_3998366894558972698_n

I saw this image about following your passion in life. It has been a topic of discussion around my office this week. Particularly around Thomas the Tank Trains™. We have a second grader who I am told that adults are trying to work him away from his fascination with Thomas and trains in general, as it isn’t an age appropriate interest anymore. During this same week, one of my teen assistants who is an awesome, successful graduate of my program, donated ALL of his Thomas the Tank trains, tracks and accessories. It was a HUGE gift and one that I am grateful for and we have been playing with all week. When I asked him (and his mom) if he was sure about such a big gift, his reply to me was, “Yes, and now I can have fun with younger kids with them and still get to play with my trains in a judgement-free zone.”

I am envious of the children that I work with who, at such a young age, have found their passion and follow their hearts despite what the rest of the world has to say to them about it. Over the years, those interests have included so many diverse and wonderful things and who knows where those passions may lead a child. The kid who is completely into washers and dryers will probably own a chain of appliance stores one day. The young lady who is completely mesmerized by Teletubbies™ may go on to produce amazing children’s television. The teen who loves nothing more than the sprinkler heads that we see in every building may come with some new technology to better fight fires and save lives.

Sadly, most of the world our kids walk in is not judgement-free. It would be my deepest wish that we could all just simply enjoy any passion or interest we have, “age appropriate” or not. If you are in the space where you need to keep your child safe from the meanness and judgement about their passion from others, it’s important to make sure that his or her passion can be explored and delighted in at home or another safe and judgement-free space.