CNN ran an interesting article on kids and how we raise them today – Should we let kids feel exclusion’s sting?. The article does a good job of talking to both sides of the issue and getting comments from parents from both sides of the issue. I thought that the following quote was particularly telling of the situation we face today…
“For one thing, kids’ lives are so tightly scheduled today that we’re enrolling smaller and smaller children in organized activities. It may be true that 6-year-olds aren’t ready to handle losing a T-Ball championship; a generation ago, 6-year-olds wouldn’t have even been playing team sports.”
I believe most of that statement – kids today are undoubtably more “scheduled” than things used to be, but a generation ago which is me I was playing team sports at 6 years old – it didn’t happen as rigourously as it does today, but we played. I kind of straddle the fence on this one – I think as parents we need to understand each child and what they need. Kids are way too scheduled with activities these days – today’s kids need video games or TV to entertain them – a generation ago – all that was needed was the prospect of an adventure outdoors and we were ready to go. Kids need to work – all these dance classes, music classes, sports, etc… are great, but let’s face it most kids won’t be Mozart, Jerry Rice, Diana Taurasi, or a famous dancer (not much of a dance guy here so I blanked on this one – the best I could do was Sarah Jessica Parker from Girl’s Just Wanna Have Fun). They just aren’t – that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t explore those skills or be involved, but let’s remember that the goal is not to drive them to become extraordinary, but simply to expose them to things and let their natural talents grow. What most kids even young kids need is more hard work – they need to learn that life will require work and a lot of it – there are great lessons to be learned through hard work and mental health and self-esteem can be found through working hard and accomplishing things.
David O. McKay once said that, “No Success can compensate for failure in the home!” – that is the bottom line – if kids feel loved and protected at home regardless of what the outside world looks like and how it treats them they will be better prepared for what the world will throw their way! Kids need to know that the world won’t always pitch them softballs and what a blessing it is if they can come home and feel secure even when everything doesn’t seem to be going their way.