The article “Before Boston bombings, a battered American dream” (April 28) described Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s drop out of boxing after he was barred from competing in the national Tournament of Champions because he was not a U.S. citizen. Formerly a gifted boxer with “a masterpiece” physique (according to his mother), he quit boxing competition and was “left adrift. His trajectory eventually led the frustrated athlete” to bomb the Boston Marathon.

According to child development specialist and educator Joy Wilt Berry, in her “You Can Work It!” book on creativity, “Not developing and using your gifts can cause you to become frustrated and unhappy. This can cause you to misbehave and possibly get yourself into trouble.” Wise words for children; they are also applicable to adults. It is no excuse for killing and injuring innocent people in a senseless terrorist act, but the article suggests that being “denied boxing glory” triggered unstable Tsarnaev’s path to destruction.

How do we discover our gifts? It is important for children to be exposed to a variety of arts and activities. If we cut school funding for electives and extracurricular activities such as music, art, sports, drama, technology, debate and other clubs, we deny them the chance to reveal their passion and purpose in life.

Sharon Noble, Maple Grove