I felt pulled in two directions while reading John Rosemond's column on limiting children's exposure to after-school activities in order to create harmony at home. A part of me resents his assumption that he knows what works for every family. What about those who thrive on activity?
Academics are always paramount and activities second in the quest to raise well-rounded adults. Just as a child is born with limited knowledge and skills, it is our job as parents to teach, provide examples and help them grow. When my children were younger, I allowed them to experience a variety of activities. As they have discovered their passion, the field has narrowed while the level of commitment has intensified.
I would love a more peaceful day, or children who do chores and finish their homework without battle. But does ceasing the rat race guarantee they will become these people? I fear they would prefer the company of the couch or television. The fact remains that each family is composed of very individual people.
I will admit to reading that column as I waited to pick up my daughter from the gym. But nothing on this planet will ever replace the swell in my heart as I watch my child master the balance beam, or listen as she pours her heart into Beethoven. These are skills I cannot teach my children. What I am teaching them is that they are part of a bigger team -- one they don't quit when the going gets tough, one they show up for even when they would rather not. What they do with it is their choice.