Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Decisions, decisions...

Since Nicklas received a guitar for Christmas, he's decided he wants to take lessons. This was expected so Mike and I are happy to sign him up. But here's the thing. The kid is in a lot of activities. He has swimming two days a week, he does Boy Scouts every one to two weeks, and soccer is getting ready to start. Then in a few months, it will be time for baseball. It's all getting to be a bit too much.

And he's only in second grade.

Plus academically, he's working a grade to a grade in a half above his peers and this brings a whole new dimension to homework and study time.

Like I said. It's all a bit too much.

So we made a deal with him. We told him we'd sign him up for guitar lessons and let him try it for a few weeks. Then he has to decide. Guitar/soccer/swimming/scouts is too much to do at once.

(Side note - when I was growing up, my father's rule was only one activity at time. I hated that I couldn't do softball or gymnastics or soccer or any other activity because I'd chosen ballet lessons. I felt like I missed out on different experiences. I vowed to give my children lots of opportunities. BUT what's the price of overscheduling children? I don't want to go the extreme opposite of my father and hope we can find the happy medium.)

And now Nicklas is very nervous and upset. He doesn't want to choose, he doesn't know how he'll choose. He keeps asking why he can't just schedule everything on different days. He was crying when I kissed him at bedtime last night. (All his personal struggles seem to come pouring out at bedtime.)

I know if we decided for him, it would save him a lot of heartache. But I really think this is something he needs to do. As someone who works in a university setting, I've seen the helicopter parents. (Only, now they're called lawnmower parents.) That mom that called the residence halls to ask for the semester menu so she can pick out her son's meals for him. Or that dad that calls his daughter's professor to find out how on earth she received a poor grade when he in fact did most of the work for her. And my favorite, the mom who her walked her daughter and her daughter's friends to each of their classes the first week of classes "so they wouldn't get lost". (These are all true stories!)

I want my children to be independent, to be creative thinkers, problem solvers who aren't afraid of the unknown. Who aren't afraid to tackle the trials and tribulations that life hands us.

So this is a decision that Nicklas needs to make. We'll guide him through it. We'll suggest a pro and con list. We'll ask what he likes and dislikes about each activity. And in the end, he'll make a decision. And hopefully grow a little bit during the process.

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