Moms Talk: The Value Of Extracurriculars
What impact have the "extras" had on your child's life?
Each week the Mentor Patch Moms Council answers a question posed to them by readers or another member of council.
What impact has extracurriculars -- including, but not limited to, sports -- had on your child? How have their outside interests helped shape them into the person they have become? (This question is brought to you by all the images of gasping parents at the Olympics.)
Ah, that's one of my favorite topics.
My girls each developed a passion for something very early and independently in their lives (during their preschool years, actually) -- my older daughter plays soccer as well as lacrosse and tae kwon do, and my younger daughter dances and enjoys acting.
I have been supportive of them in terms of signing them up and getting them to and from the activities, but the incentive to participate is entirely their own.
These activities have been truly defining for them as they have grown. For my older daughter, her participation in sports has fostered a sense of healthy competition, an interest in fitness and wellness, a sense of commitment to a team, and learning to play for coaches, especially those with whom you might not always agree.
For my younger daughter, dance and theater have opened her eyes to the value of the arts; to self-confidence as a performer; and has helped her learn how to be a strong individual performer as well as a member of an ensemble.
I can't say enough positive things about what extracurricular activities have done for them.
I found that sports were very beneficial for my four children. Our three boys made excellent friends who are still their friends as adults.
My daughter was greatly involved in sports, more even than her brothers. She was a competitive ice skater, played varsity tennis, varsity softball, fast pitch and varsity basketball. Skating was a year round sport.
To participate in all these sports plus have excellent grades meant that she had to be very organized.
When she attended Miami University, she found that she had an advantage because she had learned to be very organized. Organization is one of the skills needed to succeed in high school and college.
So from my perspective, sports or any other outside activity such as drama classes, music classes, art classes, etc. can help a child grow. Whatever interests the child is the activity that should be investigated.
However, I have seen too many parents think that their child is going to become a major league athlete or drama star. Very seldom does this happen.
Parents have to be realistic about the goals for their children.