My ability to control my circumstances got a reality check on Friday when I watched video clips of the sky falling over Siberia as a meteor broke through the earth’s atmosphere.
As a parent living in Southern California I get wrapped up in the wealth of options my children have access to. What sport should my son pursue and how much do we invest in it? What instrument should he play and how do we make time to practice? What creative activity should he pursue – art classes or theatre? What troop should he be a part of? There is this underlying notion that if I schedule my boy’s time right; it will carve out a path to success.
The truth is, my well-laid plans could experience the sky falling on the future I had envisioned. What if he burns out on his chosen sport? What if he’s injured and can no longer play? What happens when nagging him to practice becomes a bitter battle every weekday? What about when the sports schedule edges out his creative pursuits? What do I do when my kiddo no longer wants to spend time with the troop and asks to quit? When change comes, does it punch holes in our carefully constructed path, or can he, and I redirect?
As I reflected on this, it really hit me that it would be far better to concern myself with the investments I am making into the character of my child, than just his external activities. Certainly, I do not mean to say that playing a team sport for example, does not have inherent benefits in developing his character. But, what about his ability to think for himself, to have tenacity in his pursuit of solving a problem, or to maintain a curiosity that will make him a life-long learner? It seems to me if a student possesses the intellectual virtues, any redirection will not shake him but simply become a different path. I guess, I don’t just want him to learn well in school, in sports, in extra-cirricular activities…I want him to live well.
As you ponder your child’s education – what do you value in his or her middle school experience?