So I have been thinking lately about families--kids and their activities. I wonder how we are doing in providing children a variety of opportunities so that they can see the multitude of gifts God has given them.
When I was in 6th grade, I tried out for cheerleading. The reason that stands out for me is because there was really no way I was destined to cheer. Oh, I had enthusiasm all right, but definitely not the moves. I actually, sort of knew that going into the audition, but I tried anyway, being a little hopeful. End of story.
Before that, I had a love for teaching and writing.
I like to say I had the most well-educated stuffed animals around. They would spend their time lined up on my bed as I taught them on my big chalkboard (which, I must say, was the BEST Christmas present ever!)
Some evenings I would type away on my mom's portable, electric typewriter, working on stories that I was sure were wonderful.
My point is, my mom never limited me. I could try whatever interested me and succeed or fail, it didn't matter. I believe it built my confidence as I tried many things.
I like to play the piano--and I must say, the key word here is "play." Am I good at it? No, not especially. But do I enjoy it and get pleasure from it? Definitely.
So what about children today who are focused on only one thing--perhaps being the best gymnast or hockey player or wrestler?
How will they discover their hidden talents (or at least explore various interests), if they only focus heavily on one thing?
I know there are exceptions--like our laser-focused olympic athletes--but I expect it is not every child that has the skill, discipline, financial resources and focus to achieve that level of expertise.
Come to think of it, this sort of reminds me of our homeschooling days. Some homeschoolers thought it was enough to let their child take the lead in deciding curriculum. For instance, if their child liked taking things apart, then they would center their curriculum on that, figuring they could encompass other subjects and get all they needed.
That never made sense to me, because if they were mostly focused on one thing, they might miss exploring some other things.
So when it comes to our children, I believe parents would do well not to let their children have all of their confidence come from one particular activity. Not only does it put way too much pressure on them, but perhaps more importantly, it sets children up to see their whole identity as wrapped up in one thing.
God gave us all a variety of gifts. We would do well to give our children a variety of ways to discover them.
I welcome your comments.