Sparks List

The list of Sparks below was first shown in Sparks : How Parents Can Help Ignite the Hidden Strengths of Teenagers. This is not an exhaustive list of Sparks.

Interviews with several thousand American teenagers have yielded a rich tapestry of sparks—more than two hundred different inspirations that enrich teens' lives.

The 10 most common sparks
among American teenagers

Creative Arts

Athletics

Learning (e.g., languages, science, history)

Reading

Helping, serving

Spirituality, religion

Nature, ecology, environment

Living a quality life (e.g., joy, tolerance, caring)

Animal welfare

Leading

A full list of sparks
(mouse over each for subcategories)

1. Music: Instrumental
1.1      Piano
1.2      Guitar
1.3      Violin
1.4      Cello
1.5      Saxophone
1.6      Clarinet
1.7      Bass
1.8      Drums
1.9      Percussion
1.10      Trumpet
1.11      Trombone
1.12      Harmonica
1.13      Accordion
1.14       Other
2. Music: Conducting/Directing
2.1      Directing a choir
2.2      Directing a band
2.3      Conducting an orchestra
2.4       Other
3. Music: Composition
3.1      Writing song lyrics
3.2      Composing musical scores
3.3      Creating beats, composing hip-hop or rap
3.4       Other
4. Music: Performance
4.1      Singing in a choir
4.2      Singing, playing solo
4.3      Band
4.4      Orchestra
4.5       Other
5. Art
5.1      Painting
5.2      Drawing
5.3      Sketching
5.4      Sculpture
5.5      Graphic art
5.6      Pottery
5.7      Illustrating
5.8       Other
6. Writing
6.1      Poetry
6.2      Plays
6.3      Stories
6.4      Fiction
6.5      Nonfiction
6.6      Journaling
6.7       Other
7. Dance/Movement
7.1      Modern dance
7.2      Ballroom dancing
7.3      Cheerleading
7.4      Martial arts
7.5      Break dancing
7.6       Other
8. Other Creative Arts
8.1      Cooking
8.2      Sewing
8.3      Fashion design
8.4      Knitting
8.5       Other
9. Building and Design
9.1      Woodworking
9.2      Carpentry
9.3      Cabinetry
9.4      Construction
9.5      Drafting
9.6      Architecture
9.7       Other
10. Leadership
10.1      Problem solving
10.2      Bringing people together
10.3      Motivating people
10.4      Conflict resolution
10.5      Student government
10.6      Engagement in civic decision making
10.7      Membership on committees and boards

10.8     Other
11. Entrepreneurship 11.1      Creating business plans
11.2      Marketing
11.3      Sales
11.4      Management
11.5      Creating inventions
11.6      Developing new products
11.7      Designing services
11.8       Other

12. Sports and Athletics
12.1      Basketball
12.2      Football
12.3      Soccer
12.4      Tennis
12.5      Golf
12.6      Baseball
12.7      Softball
12.8      Running
12.9      Skateboarding
12.10      Skiing
12.11      Rowing
12.12      Horseback riding
12.13      Wrestling
12.14      Gymnastics
12.15      Bowling
12.16      Hockey
12.17      Archery
12.18      Conditioning
12.19      Swimming
12.20      Volleyball
12.21      Weight lifting
12.22       Other
13. Learning
13.1      Science
13.2      Math
13.3      Archeology
13.4      History
13.5      Literature
13.6      Languages
13.7      Political science
13.8      Religion
13.9      Psychology
13.10      Anthropology
13.11      Geography
13.12      Sociology
13.13       Other
14. Teaching and Instructing
14.1      Swimming
14.2      Rock climbing
14.3      First aid
14.4      CPR
14.5      Computers
14.6      Team sports
14.7      Individual sports
14.8      Academic subjects (such as math, history, or science)
14.9      Languages
14.10       Other
15. Relationships
15.1      Making friends
15.2      Supporting friends
15.3      Being a peacemaker
15.4      Empathy
15.5      Studying people
15.6       Other
16. Serving, Helping, Volunteering
16.1      Making my community better
16.2      Volunteering
16.3      Helping people
16.4      Helping children
16.5      Tutoring
16.6      Mentoring
16.7      Counseling
16.8       Other
17. Nature, Ecology, Environment
17.1      Exploring the natural world
17.2      Protecting endangered species
17.3      Protecting wildlife
17.4      Conservation
17.5      Floral arranging
17.6      Growing flowers
17.7      Preservation
17.8      Landscaping
17.9      Gardening
17.10       Other
18. Animals
18.1      Raising animals
18.2      Caring for animals
18.3      Training animals
18.4      Animal medicine
18.5       Other
19. Computers
19.1      Keyboarding
19.2      Programming
19.3      Software development
19.4      Hardware
19.5      Computer repair
19.6      Computer graphics
19.7      Web page design
19.8       Other
20. Comedy
20.1      Making people laugh
20.2      Telling jokes
20.3      Writing sketches
20.4      Improvisation
20.5       Other
21. Speech
21.1      Public speaking
21.2      Debate
21.3      Broadcasting
21.4       Other
22. Spirituality
22.1      Meditation
22.2.      Worship
22.3      Ritual
22.4      Sacred music
22.5      Studying sacred texts
22.6      Experiences of unity and harmony
22.7      Experiences of transcendence
22.8      Practice (yoga, for example)
22.9      Prayer
22.10       Other
23. Drama, Theater
23.1      Acting
23.2      Directing
23.3      Lighting
23.4      Set design
23.5       Other
24. Photography and Film
24.1      Nature photography
24.2      Filmmaking
24.3      Videography
24.4      Animation
24.5      Portrait photography
24.6      Movie production
24.7       Other
25. Being Committed to Living in a Specific Way
25.1      Joy
25.2      Passion
25.3      Tolerance
25.4      Caring
25.5      Optimism
25.6      Idealism
25.7       Other
26. Reading
26.1      Fiction
26.2      Poetry
26.3      Nonfiction
26.4      Memoirs
26.5      Biography
26.6      Autobiography
26.7       Other
27. Advocacy
27.1      Environment
27.2      Children
27.3      Social justice
27.4      School reform
27.5       Other
28. Family
28.1      Family history
28.2      Helping family
28.3      Celebrating family
28.4      Being with family
28.5       Other
29. Outdoor Life
29.1      Fishing
29.2      Hunting
29.3      Camping
29.4      Hiking
29.5      Bicycling
29.6       Other
30. Journalism
30.1      Newscasting
30.2      Newswriting
30.3      News editing
30.4      Radio and TV production
30.5       Other
31. Mechanics, Engineering
31.1      Electronics
31.2      Auto mechanics
31.3      Car audio
31.4      Bridge, highway design
31.5      Machine repair
31.6      Customizing
31.7       Other
32. Solving Social Problems
32.1      Global warming
32.2      Poverty
32.3      Racism
32.4      At-risk children
32.5      Pollution
32.6      Homelessness
32.7       Other