Our Childhood Hobbies Can Mould How We Turn Out To Be!

There’s good news, though. Even at my age perhaps I can still develop the hobbies that I think I missed out on in my younger days—if I really want to.  It really isn’t too late!


By Mesha Oh!

I don’t know how it is with children these days, but when I was a child (which was several decades ago!), we were encouraged to have a ‘hobby’, an activity that we were meant to love doing.
Over the years, I developed several hobbies, including reading storybooks, listening to the radio and collecting things—postage stamps, coins, matchbox labels, toy animals, picture postcards, publicity brochures for different brands of car, and so on.
When I reflect on the nature of my hobbies I realise that one common feature was that they entailed little or no interaction with others.  
I was a very lonely child and was frightened of boys physically stronger than myself. I had almost no friends. I preferred to be by myself, spending time doing things alone, such as being busy with my various hobbies.

Limited Interaction with Others
When I look back from the vantage point of many years I can discern that my childhood personality shaped my hobbies, and that my hobbies, in turn, shaped my personality. Unable to face tough boys, I withdrew into myself, drawn to hobbies that involved limited interaction with others. This might have been an innocent refuge from a challenging predicament, but it also meant that my social skills, including my ability to handle difficult situations, remained undeveloped. This was something that I had to contend with through many years, even deep into adulthood. My hobbies enabled me to learn to be happy with my own company and to enjoy my solitude—which I regard as a great blessing—but at the same time, being largely solitary activities that entailed little interaction with others, they had the potential of making me self-centred and limited in being able to confidently relate socially.
Many of my hobbies entailed accumulating objects—and this may have led me towards a tendency to be more comfortable in handling things than in dealing with relationships. While I took good care of my stamps and coins, for instance, I didn’t always do the same with people and had poor interpersonal skills.

Stamps and Coins
A childhood hobby that is about collecting things—like stamps and coins—can lead a child to think that value and purpose in life lies in hoarding material objects: today it is stamps and coins; tomorrow it could be stocks and shares. Such hobbies can become, inadvertently or otherwise, a means for children to imbibe the commercial logic, based on hoarding and maximizing personal material gain, at a young age. Luckily for me though, I lost my collection of stamps and coins when my parents shifted to another city. This was all for the good, because it helped me loosen my attachment to them.
Another thing about most of my hobbies was that they entailed limited creativity on my part. To a large extent, I was a passive accumulator of objects (stamps, coins etc.) and a passive consumer of other people’s words (written words, from storybooks, and spoken words, from the radio stations that I loved listening to).
Now with the benefit of age and experience when I am able to recognise the crucial impact that a child’s hobbies has on its character, if I had children (which I don’t), I think I might have helped them develop a very different set of hobbies from some that I had—hobbies that would have enabled them to become more spiritual and creative. I would have loved to see them passionate about doing things like story-writing, cooking, knitting,  gardening, painting, serving others (animals, birds, plants, and fellow humans in need, and of course the natural environment), devotional music and chatting with God.
There’s good news, though. Even at my age perhaps I can still develop the hobbies that I think I missed out on in my younger days—if I really want to.  It really isn’t too late!

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