Extra-Curricular Kids, Part 1 of 3

If you're a parent of a child old enough to walk, then you have likely wrestled with the options of extra-curricular activities. If you have several children, then you've wrestled also with the math as you've calculated all the hours of practice and performance multiplied by your number of participants. At this point then, you've no doubt seriously considered the Amish life.

Since this is and will be an ongoing decision in our family, I decided to ask for some guidance from other men who are further down this road than my wife & I. Below is the email I sent them and following are several of the short replies I received. I have two longer replies that I'll save for their own post over the next two days. Hopefully you'll get some ideas - not of what decisions to make - but how to make them. Most of this input isn't necessarily biblical, but certainly wise & helpful.

Dear Gentlemen,

I’d appreciate your insight & experience regarding choosing extra-curricular activities for your children. Anita & I want them involved in such activities – limited, of course; but we’re unsure of how & which ones to choose. Aaron Job (8 yrs) would do anything I signed him up for, whether he knew better or not, and I’m sure my younger girls would as well. So, at those early ages, before they’re fully aware of whether they really like an activity or not (vs. just enjoying being around the other people involved), how do we make those decisions?

I’m assuming that at some point – at some age - my children will be able to say honestly, “Dad, I just don’t enjoy such and such…”, but until that point is where I’m at a loss.

Thanks for your input-

Responder #1 (father of 2 boys):

Just pick what you like and spend the time with [them]. At first it won’t matter – but be sure you really like what you’re picking, because if [they] take off, you’ll be doing it the rest of your life – like skateboarding! ;-)

One thing, I tried to pick things that didn’t require two year commitments, etc. If he hates B-ball or little league after one or two games, that’s going to be a long long season.

Responder #2 (father of 3 girls, 2 boys):

I am not sure that I fall in the category of ‘gentlemen’, but I will share with you my opinion. My approach has been somewhat simple from the standpoint that I have not attempted to involve my children in anything that they were not interested in or showed some interest in. That is if you are talking about ‘sports, music, etc’ and things of that nature.

... our approach has been one in which we tried to fit to the specific ‘child’ [to a particular event]

[Regarding public school for one child] We will monitor him and see how he does, if the world influences him more than he influence them then he will come back to the home school environment.

[My wife] and I talk about these things through out the year and prayerfully try to make the best decision for each of our children. We do our best to stay away from a cookie-cutter; one-size fits all mentality.

Responder #3 (father of 2 girls, 3 boys)

Luke 2:52. Find ways to help your child grow in wisdom, in stature, in favor with God and with men. Use extra-curricular activities to help with areas where the bases aren’t being covered in some other way. Try to tap into [their] bent (Musical? Athletic? Etc.). Expose [them] to some of all of it – try piano lessons and T-Ball and see what [they] like doing more.

Come back tomorrow for another response.

1 comment:

Rob Bailey said...

dude, how are you going to retire early if AJ doesn't get a MLB contract. you need to start pushing him a little harder.