When my son was three years old I decided to enroll
him in a foreign language program. It was my first introduction to
the world of managing a child's activity schedule. Once a week, for
30 minutes, I would gather with other overzealous parents in hopes
that our children would become multilingual and solve the world's
problems. As we sat in the waiting room, I listened to parents
rattle off all of the activities they shuttled their kids to on
Saturdays. I found it overwhelming to think about chauffeuring my
child to three or four activities in week, let alone in one day. At
the time I felt like a slacker because our weekly Spanish class was
the extent of our formal activity.
That's it. Was that enough?
Now that my son is in school I've begun to think
differently about his involvement. I won't deny that I have a
vision for my son's life. I'm very deliberate about the activities
I sign him up for. However, now that he has become more vocal about
what he'd like to do, I try (the key word here is
try) to take that into consideration. But then
there's my budget. My son's language classes were $195 a month. One
year he was enrolled in Spanish, piano, art, soccer and karate
lessons. I felt like I need a part-time job just to pay for after
school activities. It was then that I had to stop and think to
myself; was it for him or me?
Did I secretly want to be able to rattle off all
the activities my son was involved in to whoever would
Was he really enjoying them or just going through
the motions because, for the most part, these were fun
Are Saturdays made for family time or for rushing
from one practice or game to another?
I want my son to be a well-rounded young man one
day. I want him to be comfortable in any circle he's in. But I also
want him to understand time management and the importance of being
dedicated to something, but not everything. I think there's a huge
I will admit that there were times where I felt
like I was living through my son. Or that there were experiences I
had (or didn't have) as a child that I wanted him to have;
regardless if he was interested or not.
I don't have the answers or think there is one
right or wrong way. I do know that this year I've only signed my
son up for one activity. Since it only meets twice a month we have
weekday afternoons and weekends to explore and create our own fun.
And when he tells me that there's something he'd like to explore
more in-depth, I will sign him up.
But for right now, this is enough.
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