In western societies specially, children are encouraged to try their hand at different things so that they can find their interest, practice it, be good at it. In the process build character like learn how to be disciplined, punctual, diligent, organized, productive, learn from mistakes etc.

Then the very act of finding an interest seems similar to how 'attachments' are described in Buddhism. Am I missing something?

  • Related: How to choose a career?
    – ruben2020
    Commented Apr 18, 2021 at 14:36
  • @ruben2020, Yes, I was the OP of the question too. This question is more related to parenting. As a parent, 'Should we encourage children to find their interest?' and try engage them in different activities
    – Noob
    Commented Apr 18, 2021 at 15:24

2 Answers 2


First, I believe the simple answer is: Yes, it can be proper.

One of the teachings of the Noble Eightfold Path is “Right Livelyhood”. In this teaching the Buddha laid out the requirements for a job to be helpful to moving forward toward enlightenment – even for non-monks.

As long as the encouragement to follow their interests includes teachings on how to recognize a Right Livelyhood I would say such encouragement would be quite proper.

As to the specific issue of ‘Attachment’ in this: Most lay persons need to have a job / livelyhood to live. To my way of thinking, just because one finds a job one enjoys and has an affinity for, does not imply they must also have an exaggerated or unhealthy attachment to that job which would hinder their spiritual development.

Again, if the parent or teacher imparts teachings of how to recognize symptoms of unhealthy attachment to things of this world and of the proper perspective as to what a job is, in the wholeness of a person’s spiritual existence; again, I would say such encouragement would be proper.

Best, Jim


Then the very act of finding an interest seems similar to how 'attachments' are described in Buddhism. Am I missing something?

In Buddhism interests are for the most part not developed "right now" - instead they are based on habits and inclinations that have been cultivated during countless of life times in Samsara. Kids are their own beings like everyone else so the attachment is already there from past lives. It's just the outer expression or topic of the defilement that might change from life to life.

What one could do instead is to introduce them to mindfulness meditation and if they like it or have affinity for it then one can continue to support and help them in their practice.

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