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Children's talents need parents' support to thrive

Springbok Makazole Mapimpi taking photos and signing autographs with fans at the East London 10's Tournament on Saturday at Grens High School. A child cheered on by parents goes the extra mile, the writer says.
Springbok Makazole Mapimpi taking photos and signing autographs with fans at the East London 10's Tournament on Saturday at Grens High School. A child cheered on by parents goes the extra mile, the writer says.
Image: MARK ANDREWS

The former first lady of the US, Claudia "Lady Bird" Johnson once said: “Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them.”

Her words came to mind as I reflected on the sad truth of how most parents generally don't support their children's talents and dreams. In our villages and townships, parents hardly make time to watch their children participate in school debate competitions, even when they are invited.

Children skilful in sports never had the opportunity to display their talents in front of their parents because they were nowhere to be seen. Those who were vocally and lyrically gifted never had the opportunity to have their parents hear them sing.

Young poets, actors and other arts performers always display their craft in front of foreign crowds and not their parents. Why? Because parents usually don't see the need to put their chores and activities on hold to support their children's dreams and talents.

What adds insult to injury is that they are not even too busy to attend, they just don't want to. Parents usually underestimate the role that their presence can play in their children's self-esteem and as a result, children never see the need to go the extra mile because no-one is cheering for them.

There are many dreams that ended up in the grave, and there are many talented souls languishing in jail or at home because they never received any parental support in their endeavours. May we be a generation of parents that puts its children’s ability first.

It is funny that we worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we choose to forget that he is someone today. Let’s show them support and help them move mountains. It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken adults.

Malphia Honwane, Gottenburg, Mpumalanga

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