As parents it is one of our key jobs to ensure our children reach their potential. Hearing impairment presents an obvious challenge to children, but it is a challenge which, given the right parental encouragement and attitude, they can overcome. And perhaps someday even achieve extraordinary things.
“Without music, life would be a mistake”
Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche was famous for the words: “Without music, life would be a mistake”. Even though the famous German pianist and composer Beethoven passed away long before Nietzsche’s birth, he would have been 100% behind Nietzsche’s words. Beethoven experienced hearing loss during his lifetime but refused to surrender to it. He knocked on every professional’s door to help him address his hearing impairment; he even used some primitive remedies such as putting oil inside his ears. When such remedies failed, he resorted to ordering hearing aids that were specially made for him. As these aids did not help by amplifying the sounds, he used a stick between his teeth that he held against the piano. Through this he could feel the vibrations from the piano to his teeth through his lower jaw to his ears.
At the time Beethoven lived, his hearing impairment should have technically prevented him not only from enjoying music but living a normal life entirely. But his passion and motivation to succeed meant that he beat the odds and went on to write the greatest symphonies of all time.
Learning from Beethoven
No-one is expecting their child to grow up a musical genius like Beethoven (although never say never!). But his example is an important one and proves that people facing challenges such as hearing impairment can achieve anything they set their mind to.
As hearing loss is often uncovered during childhood, parents are vital in the process of motivating and inspiring their children. They should encourage their children to learn and explore what they desire most in life. Studies have proven that when children are motivated by achieving success, they put in greater efforts to succeed. And if a child feels that they are gifted with a skill or competence in something, the probability of them enjoying it increases. That is how success helps in boosting a child’s motivation. It motivates the child to surpass the norm to create all that is special and unique.
Helping your child to achieve their goals
Parents are a child’s first cheerleaders, offering support and encouragement, and this is even more important if your child has a hearing impairment. There are many ways to cheer for your child:
- Encourage your child: Let your child know that you believe in them and their capabilities. Dismiss any self-doubt or fears they may have as a result of their hearing impairment.
- Discover what your child loves: Encourage your child to discover the things they are passionate about. Support them in finding their talents and passions.
- Celebrate accomplishments: When your child achieves what they set out to, tell them how proud you are. Celebrate even the smallest accomplishments together and feel free to reward your child.
- Promote healthy competition: Show how happy you are when your child wins a race and talk about the child’s strengths and capabilities. But avoid talking about their competitor’s weak points. Healthy competition means focusing on the positives while avoiding any mention of the negatives.
- Embrace imperfections: So your child can’t sing but excels writing and narrating stories. Completely fine. Don’t expect your child to be good at everything, rather focus on the things they enjoy and do well at.
- Consider their capabilities: While ambitious parents might dream of their child being the next Beethoven, the truth is every child has different capabilities and develops at different rates. An eight year old will be able to achieve at a different level than a four year old, even without the added challenge of hearing impairment. It is important to set expectations appropriately, but at the same time not limit a child’s potential.
Pave the way for your child
Your child is a gem waiting to be polished. As parents, it is our job to pave the way for our children who might dream of a future achieving extraordinary things. Life is full of possibilities; with the right mindset, we can encourage our children to be the best they can be and overcome hearing loss or impairment. Just like Beethoven did.