How to Find Passion: Insider secrets to discovering what your child does best

How to Find Passion: Insider secrets to discovering what your child does best

Today, we are going to talk about Julia Child — an American chef, author, and television personality who was famous for bringing French cuisine to the American public, both through her cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, as well as through her television programs.

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To be honest, I didn’t know much about Julia Child’s life and journey until I watched the movie, Julie and Julia. In the opening scene of the film, Julia dines at a fancy French restaurant. The moment she takes a bite of her sole meuniere, she is blown away by the fact that it was cooked to perfection with butter, lemon, and parsley.

What I learned from the movie was that Julia wasn’t always passionate about writing a French cookbook. And, at the beginning of her career, she also wasn’t interested in teaching Americans how to cook French cuisine.

What I learned from the movie was that Julia wasn’t always passionate about writing a French cookbook. And, at the beginning of her career, she also wasn’t interested in teaching Americans how to cook French cuisine.

In Julia Child’s autobiography, she writes that, after that divine meal, she encountered “a succession of interest-stimulating experiences.” They are as follows:

  • More delicious meals
  • Conversations with fishmongers, butchers, and produce vendors
  • Encounters with French cookbooks
  • Cooking classes at Le Cordon Bleu
  • Meeting two Parisian women who had the idea of writing a cookbook for Americans

What would have happened if all Julia Child did was eat at delicious restaurants? What if she never decided to learn more about her interest in cooking? What if Julia didn’t seek more information from people within the cooking industry? And, what if she hadn’t used this information to study and learn even more?

Jeff Bezos has also added to that point by saying that “one of the huge mistakes people make is that they try to force an interest on themselves.”
Further, in her book, Grit, Angela Duckworth mentioned that “what most of us think of when we think of passion is a sudden, all-at-once discovery `{`…`}` and interests are not discovered through introspection. Instead, interests are triggered by interactions with the outside world.”

This is exactly how I guide my students to find their passions: identifying interests, providing ample resources and opportunities to explore those interests, and ultimately aligning their interests and passions with their academic goals and college majors.

Here’s an example of one of my students, Jessica, who got accepted into Wellesley this year:

  • She knew she was good at both Math and Sciences.
  • She knew that she wanted to go into either Pre-Med or Computer Science.
  • Her mom had sent her to summer camps to learn more about Engineering — and she knew she didn’t like it.

So, what did we do together?

  • Identified all of her interests (academic and non-academic).
  • Provided her with unique and fun opportunities that aligned with her interests.
  • Eliminated activities and programs that weren’t a great fit for her.
  • Narrowed her interests down to 1-2 majors.
  • Focused on strengthening her 1-2 majors by creating her own research project, collaborating on a local fundraising event, and taking 3 free college classes.
We always hear sayings like “Go find your passion” and “Follow your dreams”.

But, as you know, that’s a lot harder than it sounds. Instead, it’s truly about “fostering” your child’s passions by providing them with experiences, opportunities, and networks that enable them to grow.

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By Julie Kim Ed.M Harvard University