BY MOMWISE OLATUNDE ONABAJO

From a young age, I knew that I enjoyed caring for others, keeping my environment clean and free of clutter. However, the thought of becoming a medical doctor—injecting people with medication, performing surgery or anything remotely similar to the dissection of another living thing terrified me! Yet, growing in Nigeria.

I was constantly told that becoming a medical doctor was the only way I could care for others.

Of course we know there are hundreds of career paths outside of medicine that perfectly align with caring for others.Kudos to the eleven year old boy who recently gained admission into the university according to media outlets; I’m sure his parents are very proud too. But what fascinates me beyond today’s accomplishment is what the future holds for this outstanding child.

Though I don’t have background information on the family of this student, I imagine that the parents invested considerable amounts of time in their child’s education, nurturing his passion from early on. I admire that!

But what about children whose’ parents invest considerable amounts of time in their education but don’t end up in the university before their teenage years? Are they less ‘genius’ than the pre-teen college student? Absolutely not!

Ingenuity comes in various forms and shapes. So also, children. And God made them all.

In the few years I’ve been living on planet earth, I’ve come to realize that every human being has his/her race to run. Some will gain admission to the University at the tender age of eleven while others will go around the track many times before deciding at age forty-one that a college degree is needed. Then there are some who shun college altogether for technical expertise. Then what about those who climb the academic ladder to the very top of Ph.D. and then change their career paths or discover a new path of life?

Whatever the case, with my children, I am learning that instead of boxing their young minds in a certain career path, I rather nurture their passion (drawing fairies, watching stars at night, dancing, singing, cooking, etc.) by listening to their imaginations. I am learning to participate in their make-believe stories, and most importantly, I’m excited to see the path that God will lead their future.

So rather than wish that my child gains admission to Harvard at a certain age, I’d pray that God directs their mind and heart to choose the path He has called for them…whatever that path looks like. I will also continue to “train up a child in the way they should go, so when they are old, they will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

Shalom.