Tuesday, April 20, 2010

All or One?

I got to chatting to another mom at the girl's dance class tonight.  She was complaining about how many costume changes her daughter had for the recital (7!!!, at $50-$100 a piece!!!!).  She explained that her daughter was a very talented dancer, then asked me how many dances my girls were in.  I told her just one, and she looked at me like my head turned into a bug!  I have no idea why I felt the need to justify my parenting philosophy, but apparently I did.

I started explaining how I wanted my kids to get to try lots of different classes, not to concentrate on being really good at one thing.  Not that I don't want them to be good at something, I just don't think any of my kids is going to be a professional ballerina, soccer star or painter.  So instead of focusing on one thing, I'd like them to try lots of different things, to expand their view of the world.  Between the four of them, they are in art, piano, tumbling, violin, flute, sax, drama,  book club, and PE, mostly through our homeschool co-op.  In the past they've tried many different classes, and either liked or disliked, and gone on to try something else.

As we drove home I began to wonder if this was a unique philosophy, so decided I'd ask:  Do you want your kids to be really good at just one thing, or try many different things?


Diana said...

Definitely want my son to try a variety of things! If by early teenage years he's decided there is one thing he REALLY wants to do, then I'll support that. But until then, it's a buffet of activities!

I'm actually reading a book right now titled "Simplicity Parenting", and one of the things he states is its physically damaging for a child to focus on only one sport from a young age! It creates more stress on their bodies because of the specialization. Dr's are reporting injuries to 13 yr olds that normally don't appear until their 40's!

So all that to say - one is the way to go! Way to give your kids well ROUNDED experiences!

Shannon said...

I think my plan is to take my cue from my kid(s). The way my mind works is to concentrate on one thing, then move on to another. But that's me, not necessarily how my child will thrive. So we'll see. I do want them to be well rounded, though.

Emiley said...

Here's my two cents....and maybe that's all it's worth! :-) When they are young, they TOTALLY need to try lots of things - that's the best way for them to discover where they are gifted and what they enjoy. As they mature, then they can make some more mature decisions about where they want to focus their time and energy....and Mom and Dad's money!! YOU GO!!

Rachel said...

When they are little...try a lot. The older they get we talk about cultivating the art of whatever they love. So now, my oldest are really into ballet. And my oldest of all of them loves ballet and graphic design and blogging.

Great question!


Aiming4Simple said...

I was talking about a similar theme today with a friend at ballet class. I recalled how an elementary school classmate of mine was into competitive gymnastics and had very few friends. She made the junior Oylmpic team I heard, but didn't advance beyond that. The last I heard was that there were mostly guests of her parent's generation attending her wedding. So I think the extreme focus on one sport may have limited her ability and/or inclination to build peer friendships.

I am glad my parents let me try different activities and encouraged me to focus on academics. They also left plenty of room for "down time" and creative play. We plan to do the same with our kids.

Anonymous said...

We tended to offer opportunities and follow along if our child was interested. Compared to other parents we tended to offer less - coveting our at home family time over multiple group times for the children. But our children did attend school. I'm very supportive of each family making its own choices. Barbara