This last month we bought Olivia a Camera. Not a toy camera, an actual camera that takes real photos!
Specifically, this camera:
Kinda crazy right? She’s only 2 what does she need an actual working camera for? Well here’s the answer, we felt she was ready for one. We have an old iPhone that we let Olivia play with, (it’s never charged, but she doesn’t seem to mind). One day, we saw her doing something odd. She was holding the phone out while Meghan was laying on the floor and like acting like she was taking a picture.
She had picked up on the fact that we used our phones to take pictures and wanted to do the same.
Train them Young
“Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.”Proverbs 22:6
I love this scripture because there’s a lot of wisdom packed into it. First, there is the glaring spiritual application that if you train them up in the faith and you show them how to pray and encourage a connection with Jesus at an early age, it will stick with them.
The wisdom of the Bible has layers of application to it, and these layers are not purely spiritual. There’s a ton of practical applications in this passage. I want to focus on the one that relates to the camera.
“And when he is old he will not depart from it.”
There are guitar riffs I learned at the age of 14 that I can still play today without having to look them up. I can sing along and not miss a single lyric to the entire first three albums from Relient K. I can do this because I learned those things at an early age.
As soon as it was possible, my parents had me in swimming lessons. I am a solid swimmer to this day, with a deep love for the ocean.
I learned my photography and videography skills later in life. When I was growing up I would occasionally make short films or sketches. I wasn’t like Steven Spielburg running around with a Super 16 film camera, but I loved doing it. If there was a camera around, I was using it, however, I didn’t have access as often as I would have liked. We just didn’t grow up with a camcorder in the house.
This isn’t a slight on my family, or me complaining that “I didn’t get to have those things!”. My parents just weren’t into photography or videography, so it wasn’t a priority for access to be in the house. What was a priority? Church, God, Music, Worship, Prayer, family connection, and watching movies.
To this day, we are followers of Jesus, musicians, worship team members, prayer warriors and deeply connected with our families, and bond over watching movies.
That is why we bought Olivia a camera, this is one of the things Allison and I value. If it sparks an interest in her, she could develop skills that take her beyond what we can even think.
Why is it so important to “start them young?” I think it goes into what Malcolm Gladwell says that essentially 10,000 hours of dedicated will make you an expert at anything. It’s all about practice. If Olivia wants to be a brilliant professional photographer, she has to practice, so might as well get started.
We don’t actually know if Olivia wants to be a photographer, but that’s part of being a parent. Seeing cues, or flashes of interest and adding a little fuel to see what ignites.
Sometimes it ignites a fire that lasts a lifetime, other times it peters out you don’t know until you add a little fuel, and sometimes the flame smolders before more fuel is added.
When I was in elementary school, my grade was able to start taking lessons with the band director. Apparently, my little 7 or 8-year-old self thought it would be a good idea to just start going. I didn’t tell my parents I wanted to join the band, I just went.
When my parents found out they were a little shocked but decided to add a little fuel. The only instrument I could start learning was the clarinet. So we rented a clarinet (only the raddest of instruments for me!) and once or twice a week (I can’t remember) I would go to band practice.
Unsurprisingly, I didn’t want to continue with the clarinet. No shade to clarinet players, but it just…wasn’t my thing.
Fast forward a little bit, and I’m not sure about the specifics, but I started taking drum lessons from a young man in the church, he even gave me a drumset! It didn’t last long, but we carted the drumset to all the places we moved to. The flame hadn’t ignited, but the drums kept the spark alive.
During our time in Concord CA, my parents enrolled me in some piano lessons with the children’s pastor’s wife. At first I was excited to learn the piano, but eventually, my hatred of homework caught up to me and I didn’t want to practice. (aside: The piano method we used was Alfred’s Basic Piano Library, the company I would later work at for 5 1/2 years)
Again, the spark didn’t catch but didn’t fully go out, it was still alive.
Now for yet another time jump! This time to the 13-year-old me in Phoenix Arizona. I was expressing interest in playing the guitar, we had an old electric guitar someone had given my dad, and I just kind moved it into my room.
Shortly after that, I went into my room to find a book on my bed. It was a book about guitars. Not learning how to play, just about guitars in general. However, it did have some chords in the middle of the book. My parents knew me well, they had watched and seen that I didn’t want to take lessons. I learn by doing. The best way for me to learn a skill or a piece of software is to need it for a project.
The spark ignited. I was consumed with playing the guitar. I moved from learning songs to writing songs, then to recording songs.
The investment my parents made all those years ago took some time to fully vest, but they paid off. Around this same time, I pulled out the memories of drums and piano from the basement of my experiences and dusted them off and went ahead with them, becoming a real musician. I left the clarinet where it was because…you know…it’s the clarinet.
The camera we bought Olivia was a cheap investment in what might pay off into a life long passion, we just don’t know. I think what I’m trying to get across is this: if you see your kids moving towards an area of interest. Throw $20 at it and see what happens.
Man, this thing is getting long. I want to leave you with one more thing, life long skills and passions start young and are developed through consistent practice. If you want your children to grow up with faith, you’ve got to practice it at home. Just as we bought Olivia a little camera, we pray every evening before bed, and we bring her to church with us and let her see us as we do ministry together.
Adding fuel to the spark.
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Are there areas of interest you are encouraging in your kids? Tell us in the comments below!