Thursday, May 24, 2007


While I was riding with my friend, Len, last Monday, we discussed about passion. The conversation dwindled down to him asking me, 'how do we foster passion within our kids?'

Unlike most asian parents who pushed their kids to piano or math lessons, my parents let me be who I am. I spent a lot of time playing video games and riding my bike. Maybe that's how they helped me discover my own finding it out myself.

I often wonder about my passion. The love for triathlon. The love to swim, bike and run. The love to go long.

Where did that came from?
How come some people have passion and some don't?
Why don't everyone go and find their passion?

Passion cannot be force upon. It has to be discover. It is like a favourite color. I can't tell you that your favourite color is red. You tell me what your passion is. Blue or green or black. Everyone is different.

And you can't discover your passion unless you try.

I never care about triathlon until I did one myself. My first triathlon. The ackward swim, the rain beating me on the bike and the tough run. It felt like home. It was as if God created me to tri.

Passion has to come from the inside. You can't find passion with impure motivation. I can't force myself to have a passion in cars if I only did it to get girls (side note: we all know that triathlete guys will get the girls b/c they are Jodi said).

There are many books and resources out to help you find your passion. Do this or that. Steps A, B, C and D. There is no one RIGHT way b/c each of us have a different path on life.

The only way to discover my passion is through me. No one can take my road for me.
And this road has its ups and downs. I never expect a smooth ride.

There is a big difference between doing what you hate and 'suffering' for what you love. A lot of people misinterpret me when I tell them I bike/run for x hours. They think it is a sufferfest. Boy was it a lot of fun.

So coming back to Len's question, 'how do we foster passion within our kids?'

The only answer I have is to set an example myself.

I hope someday when I have kids, they can look back and see their dad just go out and do it. Not for money or fame or any superficial reason. Do it for simply doing it. For the love of it.

I walk my talk. I go after my passion. I will not stop until I find it. Once I found it, I nurture it. Never settle for mediocrity. As Commodore believe, don't fall into common man syndrome. AMEN!
I like to give kudos to Len. He is my example of a great brother. He was late for the bike ride b/c he had to stop to look after a ground hog. The ground hog was ran over and was still alive. He waited until the animal service came and took care of it. The ground hog suffered a broken pelvis and not expect to live. If not for the animal service, it would be suffering for a long time until it died.


Dances with Corgis said...

Cliff, do you have kids?

I think that the way to foster passion is to make them practice piano for two hours every day when they get home from school, or no dessert!! :)

haha, just kidding. I really have no clue. I think that if you leave a passionate life, then they might just watch and learn from you and emulate?

Cliff said...


haha i dont' have any kids now. Two hours? I would say at least four hours.

cdnhollywood said...

Being a new parent (okay, she's almost 3 already) I really believe that passion comes from within. We're all born with it, and it's evident when we get mad, or find that one thing that just gets us super charged. It really can be anything, but we really can't control it. All we can do, as individuals and parents alike, is *foster* it. You can't force someone to be passionate, but you *can* help them find those threads in life that make it all worth living and fighting for. Cliff, I'd like to say you found it in triathlon and religion (perhaps they're one in the same?), and most of us are still searching.

I'm still searching, that I know. And I also know that I have more than one thread in life for that - triathlon (aka Celebrating My Abilities), wife, daughter, profession (I love being an engineer). There's one more for me to find - balance. And I think I'll be finding that for the rest of my life.

Now my daughter's passions? Well, they change almost daily, but at least she's looking! :)

Mun-Mun said...

i was wondering.. can you swim under water with contacts on? or is it better to wear goggles?

Unknown said...

Disclaimer: I don't have kids. I do borrow some, though.

I would like to believe that by being open and inquisitive and searching for answers ourselves we can inspire children to a life time of learning.

But what do I know?

ShirleyPerly said...

Another great post!

Until I was in my 40's and started getting into martial arts and endurance sports, I'd thought that all those years of piano lessons and academics had no real useful purpose in my life beyond making me appreciate music and get a good job. I later realized they were how my parents instilled a certain work ethic that would make me a successful individual, no matter what I did. I know how to train and compete because I spent most of my childhood doing so with the piano and in school. My muscles may not have developed the same as an athlete but my mind did and so perhaps it's not so surprising that I do relatively well in marathons and tris as well.

So, I think it's not so important to instill a particular passion (music, running, whatever) as a parent as it is to instill a certain sense of work ethic. The end application can and will likely change as the child grows up but how he/she goes about doing it (honest effort, diligence, perseverance, etc) can remain the same.