Several years ago (wow, I can hardly believe it has been that long) I wrote the following statements in our family charter:
We are actively putting less emphasis on being good at everything (preparing for the standardized tests) and are allowing our children to explore the activities and subjects that they are passionate about. We want to encourage them to find their passion and go broader and deeper. We feel strongly that this will provide our children with a sense of achievement and fulfillment, something that is rarely provided by simply graduating on the regular 4×4 plan. (Four years of high school and four years of college.)
We want to encourage our children to take advantage of opportunities that will enhance their knowledge of their current course of study (or passion.) This will include travel (of course), classes, internships and entrepreneurial adventures, etc.
Our oldest children are now at the age where they are truly exploring their passions and going deeper and broader! They are working hard every single day to achieve personal goals. And today, one of our children also took advantage of an opportunity that presented itself when we moved to China!
That child is Bella!
Bella (age 15) took a huge step today toward adulthood and registered for her first University class! She will be attending Nanjing University’s Long-term Chinese Language Training along with Eric. (We have known for a couple of weeks that her application was accepted, but she did not want to tell anyone until registration!)
Tomorrow Eric and Bella sit for their first placement exam, and according to administration, Xuxu “has better Chinese than her father,” but we already knew that! (Eric pointed out that she will probably outshine him during the entire program, and they also agreed! ROFLOL!) The plan is to put her in the same language class with Eric this year so that they can attend class, study together and acclimate her to the university life. Then, next year, while Eric goes off and takes boring classes like, business Chinese, we will let her widen her horizons with classes like Chinese poetry, philosophy, calligraphy, history and art.
We are also in the process of finding her a viola teacher. For now, her life will revolve around Chinese language, viola, seminary and math. After this two year program, she will continue her studies through BYU concurrent enrollment and Independent Study until she leaves on her mission.
I don’t need to tell you that our girl is OVER THE MOON with excitement.
Update: Bella scored level 3 out of 8 on the placement test and we have started viola lessons with the principle violist of the Jiangsu Provincial Symphony Orchestra. Additional update: She continues to stay at the top of her class after two semesters!
P.S. In addition to our family charter, Bella was heavily influenced by a book called Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations. If you want to motivate and empower your children, I highly recommend this book. One caution though, do not read this book before bed time. It sets a mind to work with dreams and plans, and the ability to sleep will escape even the most exhausted child!
Diclosure: I have an affiliate relationship with Amazon.com and may receive a commission on referrals or sales generated by this message. This is one of the many ways that we are paying for this adventure.