How did you help your children find and follow their passion? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.
The best answer to this is exposure. Allow your child to explore the world around them, join as many clubs as you can feasibly afford/pick them up and drop them off at, take them with you when you do new and exciting things, and help explain to them how different jobs are done and how people get those types of jobs.
Then, pay attention. See what types of activities they find the most joy in, and encourage them to further explore other types of activities in that same realm. If your child likes to color more than anything else, buy them paints, sign them up for art classes, take them to museums, talk to them about different types of art and how people have made a career in art. Help them understand the level of commitment it will take for them to be successful, without pushing or turning their passion into a chore. Praise them when they do well at something related to the field, and encourage them to keep trying when they fail.
My son wants to be a video game designer. From a very early age he has shown great aptitude for using electronics of all sorts. I have allowed him pretty much free reign to explore different types of video games, have encouraged him to keep a journal of game ideas that he has, and have gotten him interested in educational programming games for kids. He has done presentations on video game design for his career fair at school, is a member of our 4H robotics club, is in a leadership club, and in the invention club. All of these are targeted to help him develop skills in problem solving, electronics, and creative thinking.
We have frequently discussed the different jobs that there are surrounding the world of video games from concept designer, programmer, developer, marketer, package design, and so on so that he has a clear understanding of what he could potentially do in those fields, and what he would be most interested in pursuing so that he is able to develop a clear goal and focus on achieving that. We have discussed what universities it would be best for him to attend, and what types of grades and courses he needs to take in order for him to get accepted into those types of universities.
Children don't know how to develop a life plan or how to determine their passion. It is our job as parents to help them embrace their talents and to teach them how to follow and achieve their dreams. It's a tough job, and has to be done with love, understanding, and patience. Never tell a child that something is impossible- help them find the resources to make it possible.