I wish Miranda had some sort of big project that she was working on, some way in which she was pushing herself to learn and to grow. When she was younger, she did: she spent quite a lot of time drawing, and from my (admittedly both biased and ill-informed) point of view, it seemed to me that she got rather good at it. But (as far as I can tell) she stopped seriously working on drawing at some point over the last year or two, and the main interest that has filled that void is Minecraft. Which is a wonderful wonderful game, and one that leaves quite a lot of room for creativity; but it's still not the same thing, you can only do so much with blocks.

I'm not sure how to best help her with this. Part of my uncertainty is that my interests, the things I focused on both when growing up and now, aren't her interests: there's some overlap, but not enough to find real points of contact. But most of my uncertainty is that the very act of pushing reduces the potential rewards: it will be so much more powerful if an idea grabs her than if we nudge (shove!) her towards something. (Extrinsic motivation drives out intrinsic motivation.) I don't think staying away from the problem and simply hoping that she wanders into an obsession is the right response, though.

Sigh. Parenting is hard. She's a fabulous kid, it will all work out well eventually, but the journey isn't always so clear. I wonder what I was doing when I was in middle school, how much of my current interests came from my own desires back then, and how much came from activities my parents had me do?