Saturday, February 12, 2011

Kids' Activities - Let Them Try (1)

"Dad, can I play baseball? Can I join the scouts? Can I take swimming lessons? Can I join the YMCA? Can I take gymnastics? Can I take dance lessons? Can I? Can I?, Can I …………?"

Ah, yes, kids want to try EVERYTHING when they are young! Their likes and dislikes often change with the wind, the latest crazes, and their friends’ opinions. So, with only 1 or 2 parents, limited time, and limited funds, what is a parent to do when a child wants to try EVERYTHING?

Well, as you know, I have long been a proponent of allowing your kids to try the many activities in which they show interest throughout their childhood. Of course, time, finances, ability to get them to various locales, and other family issues need to be considered before finalizing plans.

Over the next five weeks, I will show you something that we did with our daughter to help her to fulfill her desire of trying different activities, while still limiting her choices until she had whittled them down to a manageable number. Also, by allowing her to try some activities (always within the established time and financial restraints of the family), she gained the needed confidence to be successful at her final chosen activity - a level of success that continues today!

So, yes, when kids get to try activities in which they have interest, you never quite know what is going to happen. After all, if Beethoven’s parents had not allowed him to try the piano, the world would have never heard any music from him. If Babe Ruth’s parents had not allowed him to try baseball, we would have never had the Great Bambino! However, by allowing their children to try piano and baseball, respectively, both kids grew up to provide tremendous output in their chosen professions.

Many years ago, when I was a teacher and my daughter was only three-years-old, several of my female students invited me to one of their dance recitals. While I was not necessarily looking forward to giving up a Friday evening for a dance recital, I did want to support my students. Plus, as an added bonus, I did take the opportunity to have my daughter go with me to watch the big girls dance.

I had consciously thought of having her try dance someday. She had a good sense of rhythm, she liked music, and I noticed that all of the girls who had taken dance lessons were also good students.

We had already spent the first three years of her life dancing around the house, sometimes trying to be serious but mostly trying to be silly. However she did seem to have a basic knack for dance and she certainly seemed to enjoy dancing with her dad!

So, how did the recital go and what effect did the performance have on my daughter's future life direction? Well, come back next Saturday to find out!

Paul W. Reeves

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