25 April 2010

Extra-Curricular Activities

Sometimes Eric and I discuss the kinds of activities we want our kids to be involved in. Hopefully I will be the kind of parent that lets my kids decide rather than forcing them into anything (besides piano. I will be one of those moms that forces my kid to learn piano.) I'm hoping that when my kid comes home and says, "Mom, I want to join the Medieval Sword-Fighting Club!" that my response will not be, "How on earth did I raise such a geek?" and instead will be, "Hmmm... how much does that cost?"

I played softball for three years as a kid. I started off particularly horribly. Like, embarrassingly bad, and to top it off, I was on the best team in the league. The VERY best team in the league. But I enjoyed softball a lot, and I got better. The next two years I played with a different team (although only half years for both, which is kind of a long and boring story in itself.) And I actually got to be pretty good. You know how in little league, if you play in the outfield it means that you are particularly untalented? Yeah, that was me. In the outfield, I didn't get much action, and that was how it was meant to be. But by my third year I was playing second base because I had improved that much. Those three years were really valuable to me because I was one of those kids that pretty much always learned things really fast. And if I didn't learn it fast, I usually figured it wasn't worth my effort. But softball taught me to work hard and try, and eventually I got better. It was good for me to have that sort of experience and to have some positive experiences with teams.

I know that little league baseball is kind of dying out and being taken over by soccer, which is too bad. Because I find soccer mind-numbling boring. But frankly, soccer is better exercise, which is what sports should be all about.

The more I think about what sorts of activities my kids will be involved in (especially as they are in high school and I have less and less say in such things), the more I hope that they will genuinely enjoy whatever activities they choose. I was in color guard for three years. I loved it the first two, found it inordinately frustrating the third year, and never really had regrets that I quit my senior year. I was on the newspaper staff for three years, and I loved it. I did AcDec (Academic Decathlon) one year, and although I didn't make the team, I had a great time with it. I participated in some other academic contests, and I enjoyed them a lot. If my school had had a speech a debate team, I would have been ALL OVER IT. I did band for the first two years (but it was only during the non-marching season), and I enjoyed it well enough (but not well enough to stay in for two more years). I participated in three plays, and those were a lot of fun.

I hated high school. A lot. But I loved my extra-curricular activities, and the more I think about the kinds of kids I want to have, the more I realize that there's only so much I can control. And if being in the Medieval Sword-Fighting Club makes my kid find some enjoyment in high school, then the Medieval Sword-Fighting Club it is. And I will try REALLY hard not to make fun of him behind his back to all my friends. I cannot guarantee the same for his father, though.


AmiZOOKey said...

Monk and his team just had their first soccer game for the season. They won 9-0 - two of this total were scored by Monk himself, along with several very near-misses and a header! I think that a sport/game probably becomes more interesting and exciting to you, especially as a parent, when you're personally invested in it like this.

And just quietly I think their new coach was almost overcome with elation at his new team's efforts :D

Steven said...

I think any of my extra curriculars that I joined were becuase of this "Will it get me out of class?" Thus... band was great for this, but like you I was burned out by my Sr. year. There was also Tennis. I dont know how many Fridays I got to miss for day long tournaments I would lose in the first round. Then Student Council... oh and ACDEC as well. Luckily becuase I was a "C average" student I made the ACDEC team.

Kathleen said...

I liked hearing about the piano lessons. Could I sign up to be the teacher!!!!!
Sherry you have so many talents! Glad to read about your fun activities!
Love, Mom

John said...

I am with Steve. My goal my senior year was to see how many days of school I could miss and still have perfect attendance. What I've learned however watching, our 12 year old, is that he performs better when he has a lot more to juggle. When he doesn't have an after school activity, he isn't as focused on getting everything done.

Bart said...

I want our kids to choose at least one extra curricular activity to pursue all four years of high school. And yes, piano is a must to at least a level where they can read music.

Packrat said...

First, I'm sorry you didn't like high school. (I loved 10th and 11th grade!) Our son hated it. We home schooled our daughter because of the horrors our son went through.

Next - my soapbox. I think learning music should be equally important as academic learning. Sports should not intrude on this.

Living in a small town where being good in sports is absolutely the most important thing in the world has been very difficult for us. We were "mean" and made our children excel in school and take music lessons (nothing that they weren't capable of doing).