Jump to content

Menu

How much would you/do you sacrifice for an extremely talented child?


Recommended Posts

Suppose your child were (or maybe he/she is) very talented at something...could be music, sports, whatever. I am not talking does it well but extremely well like Olympic potential in gymnastics or prodigy potential in music. Also, suppose for purposes of my questions, that the child loves this activity, is completely vested in it, and highly motivated to put in the hours necessary without parental pushing.

 

How much would you be willing to sacrifice for the child to live up to their potential? Would your willingness or ability to sacrifice certain things be changed depending on whether the child was an only or had siblings?

 

Would you be willing to move to an area with the best instructors? Separate the family for periods of time if everyone couldn't move? Drive hours and hours? What would you give up to be able to pay for it all? What factors would you include in your decision?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow. That is a tough question.

 

I honestly couldn't answer it until I were in the situation I don't think. I really think a decision like that can only come when the entire family sits down and discusses it.

 

I don't think I could do it if it meant the other children in the family felt slighted in any way. I just know too many grown children whose parents poured their time, talent, and money into the other child and their own issues in adulthood with that.

 

Dawn

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Siblings are the biggest factor for me.

Ds has great potential in music and acting. We do our best to keep up with classes and performances, but we do have 3 other children who deserve just as much time and effort. There's no way I can be convinced to put them on the back burner and focus THEIR lives on their brother's talent.

 

I *have been tempted a time or two ;), but I'm determined to keep everything "normal".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How much would you be willing to sacrifice for the child to live up to their potential? Would your willingness or ability to sacrifice certain things be changed depending on whether the child was an only or had siblings?
Yes, any decision in our family has to take into consideration the needs of the other children and the family in general. For instance, with seven children in our family, it would not make sense to spend all of our college budget on our first child.
Would you be willing to move to an area with the best instructors?
No. Our decision about where to live has more to do with affordability, lifestyle and having acreage upon which to become more self-reliant.
Separate the family for periods of time if everyone couldn't move?
No. Family is more important than pursuing one child's dreams, IMO.
Drive hours and hours?

Everyday? No. To an event? Sure!

What would you give up to be able to pay for it all?
Not a lot.
What factors would you include in your decision?
Family. The effect this would have on the other children including 1) the opportunity cost of having many of the family's resources focused on one child and 2) the emotional impact of having one or both parents focusing their efforts on just one child.

 

We've sacrificed for our DC on occasion to allow them to compete at the national level in various activities, but in each case there has been a point where we have had to draw the line and say "that's it". Beyond that point, the trade-off was no longer worth it to us.

Edited by RegGuheert
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are a lot of things there - can you be more specific?

 

If I one child that was extremely motivated and talented in an area, and my other kids were not passionate about anything in particular, I don't see the harm in putting more effort into the motivated kid's activities. However, having said that, I would also tell the other minions when they find something they are as passionate and driven to do as well, we can put more effort into their activities.

 

I don't really view most things a parent "gives up" for a kid as a sacrifice. It kinda just goes along with having kids. However - if focusing so much on a child's activity makes it so my husband and I are forced to have no life for ourselves, or that our kids have to give up all of their passions, then I think that may be going too far.

 

It doesn't have to be all or nothing. For example, I knew a family whose youngest song was an amazing hockey player. They lived in a tiny town in NH. The kid had an opportunity to join a teen league that played around the country - a league that apparently was well known for creating future MHL stars. They were HQ'd in the mid west (I don't remember where or the name of the league). The whole family didn't move - both parents had a business and they had another son in school. However, they paid the tuition and send their son out there to attend the hockey school. I think he was about 15 at the time.

 

So, they had to give up time with their son, but he got to follow his passion, and no one had to move.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We won't sacrifice much at all. WE do more than some since we do put children in sports and choirs and music, etc. but for the specific questions-no.

 

WE would not move- could not move- since dh is in the military.

 

WE would not separate the family except for medical necessity. We expect our children to leave for college and summer programs but not for us to go with them.

 

The one about the siblings is the one that I have most trouble with- so far we are paying for one to go to college. With our last twowe have to weigh how much to give up for which college.

 

 

WHat we have actually done and continue to do- spend lots of money on camps and instructors for the children. We also reorder our normal lives for music lessons and groups. However, our travels are generally local. THe siblings have had to give up some time and freedom for each other's activities be they artisitic, sports, or medical issues. None have had to give up all their activities for any others.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Honestly, it would depend somewhat on what the talent was. We value sports very little in our family, but value art and music highly, so that would be a consideration.

 

In general, I would not sacrifice our entire family for one child, nor would I sacrifice that child's balanced life for one talent.

 

We do sacrifice money and time for our children, though, so that they may each pursue a talent or interest (or more than one) within reason.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

we are dealing with a gifted/ motivated athlete who happens to be the most responsible kid I've ever met.

 

We are pursuing his sport to the maximum we can locally. By that I mean that we drive 30 minutes for practices a couple of times a week and we drive up to 4 hours for weekend tournaments 7-8 times per year.

 

We have "joked" about moving to another state with the best baseball around but would never really consider that.

 

We have 3 younger children (well, one baby) who we are also supporting to the maximum locally but they are limited by their own abilities so they are not even at the highest level of local competition. If they could compete at the higher level we would do our best to support that too. Luckily for us it doesn't seem they have the ability or motivation to require it.

 

We have decided we can sacrifice some family time for this and some $$$. We could likely take a nice little vacation every year for what goes into this but we are not really giving up much (maybe eating out, other entertainment).

 

I ask him often if he wouldn't rather we buy a camper and spend our weekends together doing that and I get an emphatic "no". He really wants to do this. It is good for him. I would not do it if he were not so hard working and responsible for his younger siblings, housework, etc.

 

I would not move for this. Too many variables. He could lose interest, get hurt, max out his potential, etc. He can quit anytime now and we're all okay with that. Not sure what the exit strategy would be for him if we went so far as to move our family for it.

 

As far as things not being equal for siblings. I'm okay with that as long as the others don't have something they want to pursue at this level and most kids really don't. My younger boys like to play but would not want to work so hard. I think when one sibling has a special need it is okay to meet it as long as everyone's needs are being met. We don't make the others miss out on things so the oldest can do his thing. One of us will stay behind just to get them to stuff even if it is a birthday party or something.

 

Good luck. It can be tricky and tiring. I've learned not to judge other people's decisions on these things.

 

Marie

Link to comment
Share on other sites

family put another mortgage on their house to keep her gymnastics financed.

 

Whether that's true or not (and I believe it), dh and I have talked about that and we would NOT do that.

 

Time and money that we can afford---Yes.

 

I could take them to practice every day. I could even take them twice a day. I'm pretty sure that I couldn't do that and still drive 2 hours to and from practice.

 

And we wouldn't permanently move. I would travel somewhere for the summer for an intensive training camp. I would NOT let a younger child go live with someone else to train. A junior or senior in high school---????? maybe

 

But, we will also always try to keep things.....not EQUAL, but at least comparable for the kids. One may be intensly into 1 activity while the other is minorly into a few things. But, I'm not going to have a child sacrifice everything for another child.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

BTW, for anyone who is pursuing or considering pursuing greatness may want to read the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. A friend from church recommended this and I read it followed by MomsintheGarden and DS19. We all thoroughly enjoyed this book. It brings fresh insights into what makes individuals rise to greatness that we found very interesting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We have been in the middle of making some of these decisions. Our daughter is a very talented competitive gymnast. She is the NC State All-Around Champion for her level right now. The gym we were part of until just two weeks ago just did not have a competitive enough track for her.

 

We made the decision, after lots of discussion with her and her siblings to move her to a gym an hour away. They have an Olympic level coach and one of their teams won 2nd in Worlds last year. There are people who do move to go to this gym, and some who drive 2 hours one way every single day. It is very expensive.

 

After much discussion about time and finances, we made the move. It really has not been as difficult as I thought it would be and she is thriving. All of my other kids have their own activities and we make sure everyone gets to their practices/events. It has taken some juggling and I think I am a logistical genius at this point.:001_smile: I don't regret making this decision (so far).

 

I don't think I could ever move or let her live away from the family. Even though she is very much committed to her sport, family comes first.

 

The things we have given up are probably a newer vehicle and some cosmetic repairs that are needed to our home.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In our case, it would depend on the age of the child in with regards to the activity. Feminine gymnastics girls peek at a young age. They need to develop at a young age. They need to be pushed hard very young. We said no right away. The olympic track gym that we have in town will take 5yo and train them 20 hours a week. By the time they're 10, it's 30 hours. We did not want that. We didn't even bring our daughter to the gym to have her evaluated. We chose another gym, closer to us. At age 8, she's training 10 hours a week and loving it. She'll never make it to the Olympics, but we're all ok with that. The sacrifice was just too high at a young age.

On the other hand, my son loves violin. He's a late bloomer, having lots of fine motor skills problems when he was young. Now, he wants to become professionnal. I doubt it will happen, but it might. We will provide him with the necessary support, because he's older. He's 11, soon 12. He can choose how much effort he wants to put in.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a dd who is talented this way in voice. I haven't been able to let her audition for musicals like I would have had we not had 3 other dc. She is going to get the opportunity to audition for a school of the arts for 11 and 12 grade. This would mean that she would LIVE there. I have also allowed her to go to public school in case they are against letting hs'ers go to the arts school.

I figure if they are that talented, it can be pursued in college. I could see that some sports like gymnastics are for really young children, but I think most things can be pursued when the child is in college.

I'm not sure I would ever have my child train like a dc who is in competitive gymnastics. I think a dc needs some kind of childhood.

I do want my dc to pursue their interests, but at what cost? And-if they pursue it so young, what do they do as an adult? Most gymnast's career is over by the time they are 18, Then what? I'm just using gymnastics as a example.

I don't think I would ever let my dc pursue something extensively that couldn't be carried over and pursued as an adult.

Obviously, I don't know what your dc interests are, but this is just something to think about.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Many years ago I read an interesting book, Geniuses Among Us, which talked about parenting truly gifted children. As I recall, the authors felt that a truly gifted child often does not have the option of not practicing their domain talent. It becomes almost a neuroses and they just HAVE to use that skill and push it to a very high level of application. However, it also pointed out that the vast majority of so called child prodigies often blended in with the rest of society upon reaching adulthood. Not many of them continue to excel so much more than other experts then.

 

Another thing the author mentioned is that many child prodigies have trouble fitting in with the rest of society because while they were spending vast amounts of time working within their particular area of talent, they were often not learning the basics of social relationships and other skills of basic life. So I would try to be sure that the talented kid was not neglecting other important areas of life.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I run circles with this issue in my mind, almost daily. Youngest DD is the regional champ for her level in rhythmic gymnastics. Kid has some mad (freaky) skills. And she LOVES it. Its like an obsession, really, she is practicing with a ball or some rope or stretching all.the.time. She happily will go through 4 hour practices, until 9-9:30 at night, with a coach who frankly would have left me a big puddle of tears at TWICE her age, if it were me. At this point, with this kid, it isn't really about "allowing", its about "channeling" those talents, because she's doing it all day, every day, either way!

 

Sooo....no, we didn't let her live with the coach when we moved to Korea. It was suggested, and I think DD would have done it! :confused:That makes a mom feel good. But I *have* spoken to an Uzbek, in Korean, about her. Had a Ukrainian friend post on a Russian rhythmic board and contact a lady in the UAE who knew about RG in Korea. And even weirder stuff, LOL. We have found a coach, but I don't know how good she is compared to our old (really really good) coach. I try not feel like I ruined the poor kids life dragging her over here.

 

At this point, we just don't know. DD already practiced less than other kids her level at her old gym, because we thought it was too expensive to add more hours. Obviously, it didn't harm her results, LOL. But I do wonder what if-? WHat if we could afford training in Bulgaria or Russia (some young girls do that)? What if we could afford private lessons like ____? Just how good COULD she be??

 

We haven't yet found the answer of what perfect balance (nurturing an amazing talent vs needs of the family) is.If you find out, let me know!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In defense of parents of gymnasts and dancers and swimmers and other busy, busy children, I'll note that what the children learn from these intense activities goes well beyond the actual sport. For example, I watched my naturally reserved gymnast daughter, in grades 1-3, when she was in school, win an unprecedented three consecutive regional spelling bees because, in part, she was so comfortable standing in front of the judges and spelling under pressure. That does not come naturally to her--she learned it from getting up on that 4" beam in a leotard and doing her routines over and over and over again, in front of her teammates and audiences in meets. I watched her at age 11 completely handle her registration and audition for a summer ballet intensive--she left me behind and just came to me when she needed a check. She would hardly let me touch her registration for an SAT subject test--I completed the credit card information, and that was it. I have friends who do these thing for their 18 yos, but gym and dance have contributed mightily to my daughter's confidence and independence.

 

My 9 yo swimmer, besides having a sculpted body that is the envy of every teenaged girl (and mom!) in our neighborhood, thinks she is strong and tough and, with sufficient practice and coaching, can do anything. This is not her natural state--she's naturally an emotional wimp (albeit a wimp with beautiful muscles), but swimming and excelling in that sport brought out confidence and leadership skills I would never have expected from her.

 

For these girls, I do a lot to keep them in their respective activities because they get so much else from them. Even if they never swim a lap or do a single back handspring in a college program, the activity is worth the time and money that we put into it.

 

Terri

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For us, part of our decision depends on what this particular sport/activity would provide for dc in the future.

 

For instance, we have a dd who is *very* talented and passionate about an activity. She could pursue this into adulthood, but the chances of her making a living with this are very slim. She might make it a career, sure, but it's highly unlikely.

 

So our sacrifice in time and money now reflects how we value this activity for an adult who supports herself.

 

I do believe our dc need a passion. I think learning to sacrifice and commit (to a certain extent) can be very beneficial.

 

Honestly, I think our family would consider sacrificing for academic pursuits more seriously than sports or activities.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Youngest dd is a natural at swimming. But she has absolutely no motivation to do anything with it. She is adament that she doesn't want to be on a swim team. Oldest dd,OTOH, isn't naturally talented but works very hard at dance and practices every day sometimes for hours. We have made the decision to put more time and money into classes for her. She may never be the star of the show but she's found her passion and wants to persue it. We have explained to younger dd that there will likely be less time for swimming since older dd's classes will take priority. When and if younger dd decides to find a passion for something we will consider taking it more seriously. We decided to draw the line at anything to do with horses though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know. I'll honestly have to let you know if and when we ever get there. I can't see throwing the other kids under a bus as far as their interests, lives, etc go, so I doubt that we'd just up and move and follow one child's passion around as in moving house....but then again, if the entire family was on board, maybe we would! I have a hard time picturing our family revolving around one member to be honest. The idea makes me squirm, because in *my* head it plays out as though one person is more important than the rest, and that's not ever ok in my family.

 

So, I don't know. Just don't know.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We value sports very little in our family, but value art and music highly, so that would be a consideration.

 

That is a really good point. We don't value sports much either. If it were about something we value highly we might be more motivated.

 

But what if your child valued a particular sport, and was very, very good at it? What would you do then?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My 9 yo swimmer, besides having a sculpted body that is the envy of every teenaged girl (and mom!) in our neighborhood,
I think it's neat your girls are doing so well, I just find that statement interesting. I don't know any adults OR teenagers who are envious of a 9yo's body! I've seen some 8 and 9 yo's in swimming and gymnastics in this area that have bodies in amazingly beautiful shape--but noone's envious--it's a child that's in great shape. People ARE impressed and maybe even in awe of their abilities and what they can do! KUDOs, yes!!! Envy? :001_huh: I'm NOT trying to be rude, I just can't imagine that!

 

We decided to draw the line at anything to do with horses though.
Why? Just curious. :001_smile:

 

My dd used to be in gymnastics and ran through the ranks quickly, and was asked to be on the Team for that gym, starting with "pre-team practice. The thing that drew the line for that was the attitudes of the girls and parents. They were just downright mean. DD went from absolutely loving everything about being in gymnastics, to crying after workouts. The girls would shove ahead in line when the teacher wasn't looking, and the moms would yell, "That's the way, Baby, you gotta be tough to make it to the top! Way to go!" The gym was only about 10 minutes from our house so it was very convenient. We hadn't had to sacrifice a huge amount yet, and were just seeing how things went. We talked with the coaches, they said those things happen and didn't address that issue with the group at all. DD was very willing to put in the hours and work required, and was doing very well! But she didn't like those kinds of actions, and not being able to work together with the other girls. There were a couple other girls like her, and all three ended up deciding to quit. They wanted to love what they did and work as a team, not go through all that every single practice! It was okay with us. We had talked with her and said we'd leave her in as long as she was enjoying it, and for her to let us know how she felt. Anyway, that was our deciding factor.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Honestly, sports were not important to me growing up. They were not important to my oldest son.

 

The are, bafflingly, the WORLD to my 11 year old twins. One is very talented playing tennis. The other is less of a natural with swimming, but give it his all.

 

I never ever would have believed the amount of time and money I would be willing to invest in their sports. They are just "hobbies" after all. But there is so much joy for me in seeing them make goals and reach them. I am surprised to find that I could watch my son play tennis for 8 hours and not get bored. In fact, I can watch pretty much anyone play tennis if they play well. It's sort of addictive.

 

We spend money we don't have on these things, and our retirement plan is suffering, and I do worry about that. But I keep writing the checks.

 

The limit?

 

I am not willing to drive rude or bratty child anywhere. I won't spend one red cent on lessons or clinics for an ingrate. If my child is rude to another child, I will probably rock his boat pretty seriously. My kids understand that I am only willing to invest my time and energy and money in this if they are doing their part by being motivated, polite, setting a good example for other kids, and being cooperative with their coaches. I expect them to go to practices even on days they don't feel like it. I expect them to work hard. I expect them to get their school and housework done without complaint and without nagging on my part - otherwise all bets are off. I'm pretty strict about attitudes.

 

I am also not willing to send my son to a tennis academy to live away from home.

 

I am not, at this point, willing to let him enroll in the "homeschool" tennis program where they do homeschool in the mornings and are expected to be on the courts from 1 - 6 everyday. That just seems like too much at his age. We might let him do it a couple of months out of the year, but I think academics would suffer if he did that year round (and many kids do!)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My children are only moderately talented, but we try to do everything in our power to support them in their area of interest.

 

We are spending a lot of time and money on Miss Good's animals right now. We spend thousands of dollars in feed and riding lessons, and shows.

 

Mr. Clever is about to go to piano camp for 3 weeks. He will be playing 3 instruments again next year. Dh was not willing to let him go to a Fine Arts boarding school unless I was willing to move to Michigan to be closer to him. I did not think that a move would be fair to the rest of the family. Our compromise is that if I can save $50,000 in the next 4 years, he can go for just his senior year. It sounds like a lot of money, but if it helps him get a full music scholarship as a result of the school, that $50,000 could save us $200,000 or more.

 

Miss Beautiful has become more and more disciplined concerning her visual art, so Dh is going to take her to visit art camps this summer so she can choose on to attend next year. I would not have considered it a few years ago when she was having a problem back talking me, and rolling her eyes. I will not make sacrifices for an ungrateful child.

 

We stress to the children that this is our investment in their education. We want them to be well-rounded and have opportunities, but we will not be disappointed if their passions become just hobbies as they grow older.

 

So, yes, I'd give up a lot to help my child reach his/her dreams, but I try to be some what equitable with the other kids' dreams as well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are a lot of things there - can you be more specific?

 

If I one child that was extremely motivated and talented in an area, and my other kids were not passionate about anything in particular, I don't see the harm in putting more effort into the motivated kid's activities. However, having said that, I would also tell the other minions when they find something they are as passionate and driven to do as well, we can put more effort into their activities.

 

I don't really view most things a parent "gives up" for a kid as a sacrifice. It kinda just goes along with having kids. However - if focusing so much on a child's activity makes it so my husband and I are forced to have no life for ourselves, or that our kids have to give up all of their passions, then I think that may be going too far.

 

I have been struggling internally with a lot of these questions.

 

I didn't want to go into a lot of detail in the beginning because I didn't want the answers to be about music in particular because a lot of parents do a lot for their talented children in many areas and I thought I would get more input with a broader scope. Thank you all so much for your thoughts. I am trying to think of every possible solution and your experiences and ideas have been really helpful.

 

My dd is very talented with her violin. She has (at almost 7yo) outgrown her current fiddle instructor and has been offered a chance to be taught by a very good teacher who lives 2.5 hours away.

 

We currently spend a lot of money on her musical training and taking her to concerts, travel a lot (both her current fiddle and violin teacher live over 40 min away) for lessons, concerts, and so she can attend sessions in the city (which are for fun and allow her interaction with other musicians), and invest a huge time commitment for daily practice plus all the other things. She also has attended camp for the past 2 years and this year received a full scholarship to a fiddle camp while we are paying for a Suzuki camp.

 

We have also rearranged our summer plans so we can take her to Ireland this year to compete in the All-Ireland fiddle competition because she placed 1st in the 12 and under age group at a regional competition last month and qualified.

 

Maybe sacrifice isn't exactly the correct word because I don't begrudge her anything that we do for her and I enjoy it all but making choices to do them, limits the amount of resources we have for our boys, new cars, a larger home, etc...

 

Yesterday, at her classical lesson, dd surprised her teacher by playing part of a very, very advanced piece she had heard someone play once months ago and her teacher looked at me and very seriously told me that we need to move because there is nothing in this area for a child with dd's talents. I know we have awhile before that time comes but the thought of it brings tears to my eyes.

 

My boys are able to do all the activities they love and we do a lot for them as well. Their needs are currently being met completely and their passions are important to us as well so it isn't a matter of throwing them "under the bus" so dd can pursue her passions. I just worry about not being able to provide for her what she needs to pursue her music. Is that "throwing her under the bus" for them?

 

As far as being a child prodigy who can't interact socially...that is so far from the case as to be laughable with this kid. She can sit in a group of adults in a bar cutting up and fiddling along during a session just as easily as she plays with her many same age friends. She is more than well adjusted and extremely mature for her age.

 

We are also very careful not to allow her to hear about her talents in a natural ability sense. When we talk to her about how well she played or anything musically, we discuss her dedication and motivation to practice as the driving force.

 

Thank you all so much for sharing your lives.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a soon to be competitive gymnast who I'm doing alot more than I ever imagined. No, she's not the best on her team but we have a great group of girls, coaches and parents (I'm beginning to consider some of them very good friends and I haven't come across any who were not supportive of each and every girl on the team).

 

But you know what, she loves this sport and even though she's in the gym for 11 hours per week (on top of school) she still manages to spend hours in and outside the house practicing her routines and skills. Spending 3 hours outside doing 1 skill over and over without a break until she mastered it was absolutely incredible for me to watch given her impulsivity everywhere else in her life. She has never once complained about practice and is usually ready to go before I am. Her commitment to the sport makes me want to give a little more.

 

I'm sure I have a line where I won't be able to give more but I don't really think we'll reach it -- unless she makes a giant leap in skill over the next year or so.

 

My other daughter loves art and has improved dramatically. We are committed to that but it isn't as expensive as the gymnastics is -- and we have a gym that is partially supported by the county so the price is fantastic.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would not sacrifice my entire family for one, so dividing us up and becoming a roady wouldn't happen. I woudln't want to do that to my marriage or to siblings.

 

I would spend what we could afford, and encourage them to actively seek opportunities that we could afford/manage. I would encourage them to help each other.

 

I would insist they develop other interests as well. It's never smart to put all of ones eggs in one basket so to speak. For example, the gymnastist? what if she breaks a leg or arm and can't continue down that path anymore?

 

No matter how talented and gifted they are, my greater goal is to instill in them a love and dedication to God and family FIRST.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just to add to the polling data...

 

Siblings and the effect on them would be my first and biggest consideration.

 

Next, dh's ability to work in the location where my prodigy could receive the best instruction. This includes appropriate salary range (adequate to support the family) as well as a job that he finds interesting and fulfilling.

 

Third, the long-term effects of pursuing this dream. If it would totally deplete us financially so that there would be no retirement funds set aside, that would be something to seriously think about. I'd have to know all the options for funding the pursuit of training, competition travel, etc. I would assume that a large part of my time would be spent chasing down funding (ie, finding donors, sponsors, scholarships, etc) if this activity is expensive, as most elite-level activities are.

 

Just my pair o'pennies.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Horses especially. We had a pony for years and formed a huge attatchment. When she died it was like losing a family member (worse, actually, since we saw her every day). The majority of our pets seem to live to advanced old age and someday the children will grow up and leave home. We've said no more pets for the children unless they take them with them when they go. I don't understand how people can buy a horse as a pet and then sell it when it doesn't meet their needs. That just wouldn't happen at our house.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Suppose your child were (or maybe he/she is) very talented at something...could be music, sports, whatever. I am not talking does it well but extremely well like Olympic potential in gymnastics or prodigy potential in music. Also, suppose for purposes of my questions, that the child loves this activity, is completely vested in it, and highly motivated to put in the hours necessary without parental pushing.

 

How much would you be willing to sacrifice for the child to live up to their potential? Would your willingness or ability to sacrifice certain things be changed depending on whether the child was an only or had siblings?

 

Would you be willing to move to an area with the best instructors? Separate the family for periods of time if everyone couldn't move? Drive hours and hours? What would you give up to be able to pay for it all? What factors would you include in your decision?

 

I don't think I would.

 

But I guess I'm of the mind that thinks that everyone has special talents and abilities, even if they don't get developed to their fullest potential, and that that is OK if they don't get developed that far in childhood.

 

Very few people in this world (compared to the world's population) actually spend a lot of their adulthood on these childhood passions to the levels you are talking about. Sure, they may benefit in many ways from their childhood activities, but I just can't see spending all that money and time on something, when the same benefits can come from activities (both hobbies AND everyday life needs) that are a lot cheaper and less disruptive to the family overall. I have nothing against activities, passions, sports, etc. - it's just that I don't think they need to take over a person's/family's life.

 

I guess I'd rather just let my kids do activities here and there, as time/money/family values allow, just to give them some fun alongside their regular academic work/chores/family life skills that they DEFINITELY will need for adult life. And then if they want to pursue some of these hobbies as adults, they can, taking the financial/time responsibility for it themselves. It'll have more value to them then.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My dd (12) is a dancer. It's something she's been doing for 9 years, at the competitive level for 6 years, and has recently won a regional title (Miss Junior DanceXplosion 2009). She will be auditioning for performing arts high schools this fall. It's her passion, she willingly spends from 8 to 16 hrs/week at the dance studio - she also is an assistant teacher there. I have no doubt she will go far.

 

We spend a great deal of money, do a good deal of traveling, and put a lot of personal time in (stoning costumes, fundraising, transporting props, etc.). As a family, we have all involved ourselves in one way or another. My 2 other children love the chaotic atmosphere of the comps, the weekend hotel stays, and have many friends from all of it. I've never thought of it as a sacrifice, though. We have learned how to turn it into a family affair - dh, the siblings, and I really have a lot of fun being a part of it with her.

 

We live in NYC, so for the most part, we're where she needs to be. I don't foresee having to move anywhere else for better instructors. If we did, I don't think we'd move. But then again, I'm not the kind of person who would live outside of a city, so it's hard for me to consider something like that. If she's accepted into the high school, she'll have phenomenal teachers and a LOT of opportunites and doors open - for free. Through various dance competitions, she's been selected for THREE different performance teams based on her solos. She's been a semi-finalist for a national title. These kinds of opportunites are in most cities, not just NY.

 

So I would keep on at what we're already doing, follow through with as many opportunites as I could, but utilize my own city to do it in. If a child is *that* good, they'll get noticed and the opportunities will come to them.

 

 

~Angela

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know of a girl in our last Suzuki music school who was 5 and in the Piano book 5 (and she was AMAZING!). Her parents now drive three hours each way for her to study with someone at Julliard in the pre-college program. I think she's 9. I'm sure she has a good shot at a professional career in music. And she LOVES it. It's "play time" for her. (This girl is also very well socialized and gets along just fine with other kids.)

 

There's a girl in our current Suzuki school who is 6 or 6.5 and in Violin book 6, I think. She is also amazing. As far as I can tell, her parents don't do more than private lessons, group classes, orchestra (the usual Suzuki weekly thing up here) and summer Suzuki institutes. There are some really great teachers here, though, so maybe they just "lucked out" in living here already?

 

We don't have any prodigies here, but I don't know if dh would spend a lot of money even if we did. (He's very money conscious.)

 

I guess you have to ask yourself if this talent is something the child could ostensibly carry forward to become a career... and if they are interested in that. Some parents spend hundreds of thousands on college educations for kids to become lawyers, doctors... How would this be different?

 

If the child is really motivated, talented, and interested in a future career, I think it's an investment. (If you can afford it and are willing to spend the money, of course...)

ETA: Ds's previous cello teacher started at 2.5, played with a symphony in Detroit (Detroit Symphony Orchestra? not sure of the name) at 15, and now plays for the Boston Pops. Her childhood music education was certainly an investment in her future career. I know she appreciates the effort and money her parents were able to put forth. She LOVES what she does. And she is amazing. (I use that word only when appropriate. Promise.)

 

Smiles,

Kate

Edited by zaichiki
another tidbit
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We currently spend a lot of money on her musical training and taking her to concerts, travel a lot (both her current fiddle and violin teacher live over 40 min away) for lessons, concerts, and so she can attend sessions in the city (which are for fun and allow her interaction with other musicians.

 

Donna,

 

Would moving mean less time in travel/in the car and less time taken from others in the family? Could it be better for your dd (better opporunities) AND better for her siblings (more family time/less travel time)?

 

Kate

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know any adults OR teenagers who are envious of a 9yo's body! I've seen some 8 and 9 yo's in swimming and gymnastics in this area that have bodies in amazingly beautiful shape--but noone's envious--it's a child that's in great shape. People ARE impressed and maybe even in awe of their abilities and what they can do! KUDOs, yes!!! Envy? :001_huh: I'm NOT trying to be rude, I just can't imagine that!

 

 

I don't quite know what the point of this was, so I won't assume it was rude, but since the teenaged girls at the pool crowd around her and say, "We want your muscles," and moms ask repeatedly what she does to get such beautiful definition in her legs/back/abs, I stand by my statement.

 

Terri

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are a lot of things there - can you be more specific?

 

If I one child that was extremely motivated and talented in an area, and my other kids were not passionate about anything in particular, I don't see the harm in putting more effort into the motivated kid's activities. However, having said that, I would also tell the other minions when they find something they are as passionate and driven to do as well, we can put more effort into their activities.

 

I don't really view most things a parent "gives up" for a kid as a sacrifice. It kinda just goes along with having kids. However - if focusing so much on a child's activity makes it so my husband and I are forced to have no life for ourselves, or that our kids have to give up all of their passions, then I think that may be going too far.

 

It doesn't have to be all or nothing. For example, I knew a family whose youngest song was an amazing hockey player. They lived in a tiny town in NH. The kid had an opportunity to join a teen league that played around the country - a league that apparently was well known for creating future MHL stars. They were HQ'd in the mid west (I don't remember where or the name of the league). The whole family didn't move - both parents had a business and they had another son in school. However, they paid the tuition and send their son out there to attend the hockey school. I think he was about 15 at the time.

 

So, they had to give up time with their son, but he got to follow his passion, and no one had to move.

 

I agree with this in principle, but I cannot say without being in that situation.

 

What if that same child needed special help to succeed, therapy and such? Why should a family have to give up so much time, money and energy for that but not for a child to pursue their passion? I am not being rude, seriously most of us would not give a second thought to finding the best doctors and treatment for a child that needed help. We have been in that position, and we did give up ALOT as did our other two children in order to save the life of one child. Having been through that, I would give the same money, time and energy to any of the kids to allow them to move on with something they love if it was truly their passion and they had the potential to be one of the best. Again, we do not have a child with a true passion yet, so I cannot really answer that question accurately at this time. Circumstances have a way of changing things.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

What if that same child needed special help to succeed, therapy and such? Why should a family have to give up so much time, money and energy for that but not for a child to pursue their passion? I am not being rude, seriously most of us would not give a second thought to finding the best doctors and treatment for a child that needed help. We have been in that position, and we did give up ALOT as did our other two children in order to save the life of one child. Having been through that, I would give the same money, time and energy to any of the kids to allow them to move on with something they love if it was truly their passion and they had the potential to be one of the best.

 

Interesting perspective. Not without its merits really. Many families move for a job opportunity or better health care for a sick child. Would a move inconvenience the family if it's a move for a single child's educational opportunities? I guess that depends on the family's situation.

 

We recently moved two hours from our previous suburban home in order to have more space for our kids (and pastures for livestock). It was a lifestyle change. Dh still works near our previous home. It's not convenient for him, but he had hoped to find a new job closer to our new home. Hasn't happened yet. Of course that possibility is not crossed off the list. Still... our move benefitted some of us more than others. Hopefully that will change soon.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why should a family have to give up so much time, money and energy for that but not for a child to pursue their passion?
To me, these are very different things. In one case, I would feel that I had a choice as a parent, in the other, no choice.

 

Chapter Two in Outliers: The Story of Success is entitled "The 10,000 hour Rule". Basically, the author makes a decent case in this chapter that a person who wants to become a world-class leader in any field needs to have 10,000 hours of training. What's pertinent to this discussion is a reference to a study involving many pianists. Basically, the finding in this study was that there were neither any prodigies (who attained world-class level without the 10,000 hours) nor any failures (who did NOT achieve world-class level with 10,000 hours). (I would provide an exact quote, but I only have an audiobook, so I don't have an easy way to come up with that.)

 

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not at all discounting motivation or physical characteristics, as those are important. But for argument's sake, let's ignore those for a minute. So at this point, I basically have three choices:

 

1) Provide ALL of my children 10,000 hours of training in their preferred field, providing assurance they will all be world-class in their field.

2) Provide SOME of my children 10,000 hours of training in their preferred field, making some of them world-class and others not.

3) Provide NONE of my children 10,000 hours of training in their preferred field, making none of them world-class in their fields.

 

If the case of no born failures and no prodigies in the world-class arena for some activities a child can enter, it seems choice 2) is harder to defend, since the cost of advancing one child's abilities is at the expense of the other children's abilities.

 

Do differing motivation levels justify choice 2)? Perhaps...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know of a girl in our last Suzuki music school who was 5 and in the Piano book 5 (and she was AMAZING!). Her parents now drive three hours each way for her to study with someone at Julliard in the pre-college program. I think she's 9. I'm sure she has a good shot at a professional career in music. And she LOVES it. It's "play time" for her. (This girl is also very well socialized and gets along just fine with other kids.)

 

There's a girl in our current Suzuki school who is 6 or 6.5 and in Violin book 6, I think. She is also amazing. As far as I can tell, her parents don't do more than private lessons, group classes, orchestra (the usual Suzuki weekly thing up here) and summer Suzuki institutes. There are some really great teachers here, though, so maybe they just "lucked out" in living here already?

 

We don't have any prodigies here, but I don't know if dh would spend a lot of money even if we did. (He's very money conscious.)

 

I guess you have to ask yourself if this talent is something the child could ostensibly carry forward to become a career... and if they are interested in that. Some parents spend hundreds of thousands on college educations for kids to become lawyers, doctors... How would this be different?

 

If the child is really motivated, talented, and interested in a future career, I think it's an investment. (If you can afford it and are willing to spend the money, of course...)

ETA: Ds's previous cello teacher started at 2.5, played with a symphony in Detroit (Detroit Symphony Orchestra? not sure of the name) at 15, and now plays for the Boston Pops. Her childhood music education was certainly an investment in her future career. I know she appreciates the effort and money her parents were able to put forth. She LOVES what she does. And she is amazing. (I use that word only when appropriate. Promise.)

 

Smiles,

Kate

 

 

 

Hey Kate -Haven't we met in MA a few years back? I think you then moved away a couple of years ago?

 

Just musing here because I seem to recognise you!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We only have one DD, so we don't have sibling to consider.

 

I would have to weigh a lot of factors in to the decision of what to sacrifice.

 

I can't imagine selling my house to finance a gymnastics career or something similar. Honestly I think very few kids have incredible talent or the talent to have a 'career' and so I would feel the odds were not in our favor. I wouldn't want to sacrifice too much on something that an injury or a decision to 'quit' could end it abruptly. Now paying a reasonable amount for lessons and driving to/from and other reasonable sacrifices of money/time I would consider.

 

We've never had someone in our family that had that kind of talent (sports or dance). But I've seen parents pay incredible amounts for some just 'above average' talent. I always think they are trying to turn an above average talent into an incredible talent, which I don't think you can really do. I do think talent can develop in fits and starts and needs some support.

 

My BIL is a professional musician with an orchestra (first chair trumpet) and he made it going to public school, no outside lessons until he went to college. His PS teacher actually bought him a trumpet. He has an incredible talent and nothing was going to stop it.

 

I guess I have mixed feelings about making big sacrifices, but so far we don't have to worry. Singing, dancing, musical instruments, sports - all look like we're safe on those fronts.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We sacrifice a lot for ds14's swimming and don't regret it. He is not the most naturally gifted but he works very hard, and puts in 100% every day to be there. His coach says he is one of his favorite athletes of all time, not because he is amazing, but because he does everything asked of him, with out complaint, and comes out of the water with a smile. Ds isn't highly competitive, but he is driven, and will work hard on his goals. This is why we sacrifice....not to encourage the sport....but to encourage ds to build on these skills...the ones that he will use every day for the rest of his life.

 

To not be the most gifted on a team, but to be recognized as the hardest working, is an accolade that will carry ds throughout college and into his career.

 

I work outside the home partially to pay for swimming, and drive 45min each way 5-6 days a week. Some say I am nuts to do it, but honestly I consider it part of his school, of sorts. He chooses to be on a very hard team, passing on teams that he would have been one of the top swimmers, because he likes a challenge. If he is asking for that level of commitment, I am willing to offer him the opportunity.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have two children with no obvious passions, and one child with several (expensive) ones. If the two without passion for anything displayed any real desire to do anything, I'd be all over it trying to get them what they wanted. They don't, so I'm not willing to put forth a lot of effort convincing them that ________ is something they should do. My boys enjoyed baseball last year a great deal, but not enough to care if they played this year. Everything we've tried has been the same.

 

DD on the other hand LOVES dance (ballet), ice skating and music. She's been begging for violin lessons since she was three, but we couldn't afford them. Right now she's just ice skating, but hopefully in the fall we'll be able to add ballet back into the mix.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't understand how people can buy a horse as a pet and then sell it when it doesn't meet their needs. That just wouldn't happen at our house.

 

Not to start another debate, but horses aren't pets at our house. They are livestock and a business. We have donkeys, dogs, horses, cats and dogs and the only pets we have are the dogs. The rest of the animals are here for a purpose.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We're doing it right now. Both of my girls are competitive horseback riders. We've already moved so that we can have more land to better accomodate our horses and to allow for the building of a large riding arena and a round pen.

 

We've purchased 7 horse trailers in the last 5 years and in fact just plunked down quite a bunch of money for a larger nicer trailer. We've purchased several vehicles to use to tow these trailers - all of which we wouldn't have done is we weren't so in to horses.

 

Our lives pretty much revolve around horses and our girls competitions. We've decided as a family that this is what we will focus on for this "season" of our lives.

 

That said, we've made a decision not to compete on Sundays. We miss a few races, but we make going to church a priority.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Chapter Two in Outliers: The Story of Success is entitled "The 10,000 hour Rule". Basically, the author makes a decent case in this chapter that a person who wants to become a world-class leader in any field needs to have 10,000 hours of training. What's pertinent to this discussion is a reference to a study involving many pianists. Basically, the finding in this study was that there were neither any prodigies (who attained world-class level without the 10,000 hours) nor any failures (who did NOT achieve world-class level with 10,000 hours). (I would provide an exact quote, but I only have an audiobook, so I don't have an easy way to come up with that.)

 

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not at all discounting motivation or physical characteristics, as those are important. But for argument's sake, let's ignore those for a minute. So at this point, I basically have three choices:

 

1) Provide ALL of my children 10,000 hours of training in their preferred field, providing assurance they will all be world-class in their field.

2) Provide SOME of my children 10,000 hours of training in their preferred field, making some of them world-class and others not.

3) Provide NONE of my children 10,000 hours of training in their preferred field, making none of them world-class in their fields.

 

If the case of no born failures and no prodigies in the world-class arena for some activities a child can enter, it seems choice 2) is harder to defend, since the cost of advancing one child's abilities is at the expense of the other children's abilities.

 

Do differing motivation levels justify choice 2)? Perhaps...

 

I think we really HAVE to consider the other factors. It's not JUST about the number of hours and the motivation.

 

There really are children who just achieve more in those 10K hours (or however many hours). There really are those children/people who have what seems to be an inborn talent for certain things. Some people might argue that what seems to be inborn talent is really just more interest and therefore more time spent, but I'm not so sure. Think about different learning styles. That's just a start.

 

I've seen kids of similar age and background go through similar hours of practice and lessons on the same instrument and with the same teachers (according to parents comparing "notes") and yet achieve vastly differently. There's gotta be something more to it than just the number of hours involved.

 

I don't believe that humans are all created exactly the same with the same potential in all the same areas. We're not blank slates. We're individuals right down to our genes, with different strengths and weaknesses that come from more than just our environment. At least... that's what I believe based on what I see in my own kids and in that example I gave above.

 

I do see that more can be accomplished with more time and hard work FOR ANYONE, but that doesn't mean the potential is the same.

 

Is the poster asking for advice based on what she considers to be superior potential? If a child has such potential in an area, would that affect the 10K hours theory? Would that affect the choices the parents should make? Does this child's (possibly God-given) potential cry out for encouragement and support?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think we really HAVE to consider the other factors. It's not JUST about the number of hours and the motivation.

 

There really are children who just achieve more in those 10K hours (or however many hours). There really are those children/people who have what seems to be an inborn talent for certain things. Some people might argue that what seems to be inborn talent is really just more interest and therefore more time spent, but I'm not so sure. Think about different learning styles. That's just a start.

 

I've seen kids of similar age and background go through similar hours of practice and lessons on the same instrument and with the same teachers (according to parents comparing "notes") and yet achieve vastly differently. There's gotta be something more to it than just the number of hours involved.

 

I don't believe that humans are all created exactly the same with the same potential in all the same areas. We're not blank slates. We're individuals right down to our genes, with different strengths and weaknesses that come from more than just our environment. At least... that's what I believe based on what I see in my own kids and in that example I gave above.

 

I do see that more can be accomplished with more time and hard work FOR ANYONE, but that doesn't mean the potential is the same.

 

Is the poster asking for advice based on what she considers to be superior potential? If a child has such potential in an area, would that affect the 10K hours theory? Would that affect the choices the parents should make? Does this child's (possibly God-given) potential cry out for encouragement and support?

 

:iagree: There has to be more to it than 10K hours. If that were the case, there would be way more people at the tops of their fields. Things like intelligence, learning style, even physiological factors like hearing in music and body make-up in certain sports, motor skills, all must play a role.

 

Often I think the biggest "gift" a child like mine has is the motivation to want to work hard and practice the many hours necessary...not every child would. Also the ability to practice in such a way that she gets the most out of every minute that she can because I am sure there are many kids who could practice the same amount of time and each learns at a different rate. But there is more to it than that.

 

I was asking for advice based on where we are and what I see coming in the future. If a child is moving along in math, his parent would allow the child to progress from topic to topic as they saw fit. No one would tell them to stop his learning, if he likes math, he can wait until college to pursue it...well, maybe some public schools would but that's another topic. They might go wider or deeper into certain areas rather than always straight ahead but they wouldn't make the child stop learning.

 

I was asking for advice based on my child's natural progression. She is driven to learn to play so there would be no way, once she hit a certain point, I could say to her, "Sorry, you will just have the wait ___ years until college before you can continue in your violin studies." This is a child who spends hours on youtube watching top-notch fiddlers and violinists then immitates their playing. If she doesn't have something new to work on, she finds something on her own to learn.

 

Like the little gymnast who practices and practices a move for hours...the drive is inside of her and not nurturing that ability and potential just seems so wrong to me. I can't sacrifice the happiness of my other kids for her but I also can't sacrifice her happiness for them and that is what makes all of this so difficult....finding a balance where everyone gets what they need with the resources we have available.

 

I am simply struggling with what we, as a family, will be able to do for a child like this and what factors I need to consider to make those types of choices.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fiddle camp? Suzuki camp? A 40-minute drive for lessons? Possibly a 2-hour drive for lessons (I'm assuming once a week)? Regular concert attendance? Sounds reasonable.

 

Nothing you're already doing or thinking of doing sounds out of the ordinary. I think most of us would do those same things for our children (assuming we lived close enough to good resources and had the money to pay for them). You're fortunate to live in the Northeast and have many cities within reasonable driving distance of your home. It would take a lot to max out the combined resources of New York City, Washington, Philadelphia, and Baltimore.

 

A boy who attended our neighborhood country day school (he graduated two years ago and is now in high school) flies up to NYC every weekend for the Juilliard Children's program on Saturdays and has done so for years. He also gives piano concerts -- which include many of his own compositions -- at the Kennedy Center and even the White House, I think. It sounds as though his parents made good choices and got him into a stable routine. The stability of it is probably what is keeping them all sane.

 

One thing you may want to consider as you make your choices is what kind of life you hope your daughter will have as an adult. I read a book last year -- the name of it escapes me -- that was written by a "former gifted child" who now considers himself a has-been. His book discusses how harmful it is to make too much of a child's talent or intelligence, because if she peaks at a young age, the whole rest of her life will be spent looking back rather than looking with anticipation toward the future. A child whose entire family revolves around her talent is probably (as an adult) going to expect star treatment from her husband and children, with disastrous results. Even if a child doesn't peak but continues strong into adulthood, she will always be considered a "former child star" rather than a "fresh new face on the scene." Just a caution about overexposure at an early age.

 

Really, I think as I write this that the best thing you could do is to get your lives into a predictable routine of the very best possible training, and then just relax. Trying to chase down every opportunity out there will only make you frantic that you're missing something and will cause your family to miss out on the normalcy and orderliness that they deserve.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...