"Train up a child in the way they should go and when they are old they will not part from it."
These words from Proverbs 22 have always caused me to stop and think. I remember one discussion on this subject that promoted the idea behind these words in the original text. The idea was to train up a child in the way they are 'bent'.
How is my child bent? What are the gifts and talents (not the same thing) that God has imprinted into this child? What are his/her natural inclinations?
The answers to these questions will help you, as a parent, to choose opportunities for your child to explore, create and imagine. It isn't abnormal for you child to shift between interests or for those interests to change as they grow and mature. However, as you observe your child in various instances you'll notice what things really 'light them up'. This is probably the way they are bent.
It's easiest to use my oldest son as an example because his bent is obvious and he is on his way to fulfilling that. He wants to be in design, leaning towards either industrial or architectural. Looking back over his life we could see from when he was a wee lad that this was his inclination. He loved building sets of any kind!
Lego, Kinects, Bionicles...anything you could stick together was his favorite toy. He also had a pretty wild imagination! I remember him putting on a snowsuit in the middle of summer - backwards - then putting some helmet on, climbing into his little brother's reclining high chair and pretending to be an astronaut! But mostly, he loved to build.
As he got older he started experimenting with drawing and the design element came out. He loves playing strategy video games where you have to collect, build and distribute supplies. He has explored leather crafting and sewing. (There aren't too many 16 year old guys who are comfortable in a fabric shop!) He wants to learn about blacksmithing and knife-making. He plays drums and does beats. He's a bit eclectic.
You may be painting a pigeon hole representation of my son in your head of what he might look like, sound like or act like given what you just read because there's a bit of a stereotype that goes along with that...and you'd be dead wrong!
Because he's a big, brawny guy most people think he's very into athletics, he's not. He has played volleyball for a number of years but decided that it isn't something he loves so he isn't going to waste his time doing that. He is choosing to do things that he loves...so he decided to homeschool again, so he could pursue those things.
Are any of my other kids like him? Nope. We've got an athlete, a scientist, a negotiator, a diplomat and an artist/dancer/musician in residence. Each one so different.
Our goal as parents is to try and give them as much opportunity to do the things they truly love doing. At times we have insisted on particular activities because we see the potential even when they aren't enjoying themselves because they are currently stuck in the boring middle where it looks alot like work! We know that the hard work will pay off and one day they'll thank us. We were both fortunate enough to have parents who did that for us and we know it to be true! (I still hate practicing!)
Pray for your children, ask God for insight if nothing seems to really be popping - you may not have found the right thing yet. This whole process takes time, prayer, patience, money and did I mention time...
Don't force them into a mold of what you think you'd like them to be, give them freedom to be who God designed them to be. I don't think you'll be sorry.