How to encourage your child’s passions

Sebi Roberts wants to be a vet or marine biologist when he grows up.

By Eliza Henry-Jones

Whether you’re an adult or a child, finding your passions can be difficult. However, 10-year-old Sebi Roberts from Geelong West knows exactly what he’s passionate about.

Sebi has a keen passion for wildlife and wants to be a vet or marine biologist when he grows up.

“I would really like to be a vet or a marine biologist. Since I was little I have loved all types of animals. My dad studied marine biology and it sounds really fun,” Sebi said.

At the end of last year, Sebi was one of two children chosen to be Junior Jellyfish reporters at the Melbourne Aquarium.

Before the jellyfish exhibit was officially launched and opened to the public, Sebi was able to visit and it was a dream come true.

“We went behind the scenes to look at the jelly lab, which is where they grow the jellyfish,” Sebi explains.

“We also got to interview the people that were growing the jellyfish and the jellyfish experts.”

For Sebi, the experience was priceless.

“I learnt that they don’t have any blood steam, heart, bones, anything like that,” Sebi tells me.

“They’re almost completely made of water. It’s 95% water and only 5% solid materials.”

To be considered for the role, Sebi created a one-minute video with the help of his mum, Debbie, outlining his passion for animals – both land and sea – and the amazing breadth of things that he knows about sea animals.

“Sebi is quite inquisitive. Whenever he finds a passion he hones in on it and read all the books on it and asks lots of questions. He’s like a sponge, he actually remembers most things that he reads and learns.”

Sebi’s passion is impressive.

“My favourite jellyfish is probably the blue blubber,” Sebi said.

“It isn’t always blue. Sometimes it can be brown and yellow, depending on the environment and what they eat. I like the colour.”

Sebi goes on to explain bioluminescence to me – with all the patience and knowledge of marine expert.

Debbie, who has three children aged 8 to 12 years, is no stranger to encouraging her children’s passions.

Her advice to other parents who are keen to develop their children’s passions is simple.

“Encourage them by reading books, depends what it is, but if they like tennis, encourage them to do it,” said Debbie.

“Play those games with them. Be involved.”