Parenting: Trying new activities
May 11, 2012 (WPVI) -- Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that the Buckman boys play football (flag and later tackle) in the Fall, basketball in the Winter and Little League baseball in the Spring.
This year, our soon-to-be-16-year-old son, Billy, has added a new sport to our family's roster - he decided to go out for lacrosse. It's a game he'd never played before, but a lot of his friends and fellow football players are on the team, so he decided to give it a try.
He's on his high school's JV team and seems to be picking up the skills and rules really well. Personally I think it's great - not because I've suddenly become a huge lacrosse fan (frankly, unless they're scoring a goal, I'm not really sure what's going on and who's supposed to where) but because I think it's great that Billy decided to take on a new challenge.
As parents, we try to expose our children to as many different opportunities as we can, whether it's sports, the arts, Lego competitions or chess club. Sometimes, they find something they love and at which they can excel. Sometimes, not so much, and they go from a strong interest in one activity to another over time.
Some children seem to be great at everything. However too often, I think, coaches and teachers force kids to choose one extra-curricular activity over another.
Our oldest son, Jason, gave up playing basketball, because the coach demanded basically a 365-day-a-year commitment. He wanted to play football, go to youth group retreats and take part in a variety of other activities.
As it was, football was key in college selection, but now, an injury has forced him off the team. It's OK, because his high-school experience as a Little League umpire led to his getting a job umpiring and refereeing college intramurals. Had he stuck with basketball, the same injury would not only have forced him to give that up, but left him with far fewer options and experiences on which to rely.
Billy tried wrestling in middle school, but he had to stop after breaking his arm twice. The point is life's unpredictable, and I don't think parents, coaches or teachers who encourage children to put all their eggs in one basket, are doing them a favor.
I'd much rather have a child who's willing to try new sports or activities (Billy also took up guitar after years of piano lessons) than a child who feels burned out after years of involvement in just one activity.
Life is about multi-tasking. As adults, we're workers, parents, volunteers - we play different roles at different times. Aside from the rare child prodigy who can make a life out of talent or skill, success comes from being able to combine different talents.
I hope, even now, I still have skills, talents, and interests that I have yet to discover. That's what makes life interesting.
amy buckman parenting reports, parenting, amy buckman
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