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Does it help or hinder a child's life if they are really good at one thing?


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I've always enjoyed watching the Olympics. I find it inspiring to watch the athletes. I enjoy the personal stories that are featured.

 

But, I wonder, what sacrifices have been made, and are they really worth it? Especially for the Olympic hopefuls who never made it? The insane practices. The strain on bodies. The relationships torn apart. The family whose existence revolves around the child who is really talented at something. Siblings getting left behind. The money poured into the sport. Missing out on other great things in life because there was no time.

 

On the other end of the spectrum, as a child (and an adult) I've wished often that I was really good at *something* (though I didn't have the obvious talent nor probably the self-discipline).

 

My family did few activities because my parents chose to lead a quiet, unhurried life. My mom in particular hated the overscheduled rushing to and fro. Both parents placed a high value in spending time as a family, and as a result, I had one of the best childhoods of anyone that I've been acquainted with.

 

When it comes to my boys, though, I want their world to be a little larger than mine was as a child. I want more opportunities for them. I want them to experience the discipline of delving into something that they are good at and developing their skill. They are also completely different in personality than my sisters and I were as children, and may need much more activity to keep them out of trouble. :)

 

I have two friends who had similar childhoods to my own and still hold it against their parents that they were never given the opportunity to ride horses. (Not the easiest thing logistically or monetarily...both had siblings neither family was weathly by any stretch of the imagination). Both of them desperately wanted to learn horseback riding. Both of them have fulfilled that dream as adults and have sworn that their children will have the opportunity to ride horses. But what if their children hate horses and desperately want to water ski?

 

Another friend has two daughters who play softball. One in particular is really talented. They spend months at a time traveling every weekend. One daughter with the mom, the other daughter with her dad, each in a different city. It has put a strain on the marriage and probably the finances, but the oldest daughter will be going to college on a huge scholarship and her identity is tied up a great deal in her pitching.

 

So, my questions:

 

Do you regret lack of opportunity as a child? Was there one thing that you wish you had been given the support to pursue?

 

Were you immersed in a sport or other talent (music, art, whatever) as a child? Was it a healthy thing for you? For your family? Any regrets?

 

Do you have a child (or children) with specific talents or passions and what are you doing to encourage those?

 

What sacrifices are you willing to make to support your child, and what is too much? Would you pull your child out of a sport that they were excelling in if the strain on them or your family was too great?

 

Do you place more value on a child being 'well-rounded' or on them delving deep into one thing? Does this coincide with your educational values? (Since a strict classical education often values deep rather than wide...) Which do you think will serve them best in adulthood?

 

Do you think focusing (assuming a large time-commitment) on one thing robs children of their childhood?

 

And (last question, I promise) do you require certain activities of your children even if they show no promising talent or interest?

 

I know I've asked a lot. Feel free to only answer one question (or two...) if you have .02 to offer. :)

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Do you regret lack of opportunity as a child? Was there one thing that you wish you had been given the support to pursue?

I think my parents made it possible for me to explore the ares that I was interested in. I did the horse thing for years and showed competitively. I think that the key was that I could see in the shows that while I was good, I certainly wasn't great. My parents helped keep things in perspective by requiring me to pay my show fees and also limiting me to one show a month.

 

Were you immersed in a sport or other talent (music, art, whatever) as a child? Was it a healthy thing for you? For your family? Any regrets?

 

Just the riding. No regrets.

 

Do you have a child (or children) with specific talents or passions and what are you doing to encourage those?

 

My kids are academically gifted, but probably not physically gifted. One has definite artistic skill. I try to keep him enrolled in art classes and I'm looking into lego league for the older one.

 

What sacrifices are you willing to make to support your child, and what is too much? Would you pull your child out of a sport that they were excelling in if the strain on them or your family was too great?

 

I'll pay for whatever as we have the ability to do it. I would absolutely pull a kid out if I felt that the negatives were outweighing the positives. I am betting that my kids would rather stop anything than have divorced parents... when the activity would likely have to end anyway.

 

Do you place more value on a child being 'well-rounded' or on them delving deep into one thing? Does this coincide with your educational values? (Since a strict classical education often values deep rather than wide...) Which do you think will serve them best in adulthood?

 

I wouldn't say I am going for "well-rounded" but I do want them to have to opportunity to try new things. But try it and if you are no good, move on. I want them to have developed their areas of giftedness, but not to the neglect of learning the basics of other things.

 

Do you think focusing (assuming a large time-commitment) on one thing robs children of their childhood?

 

Yes.

 

And (last question, I promise) do you require certain activities of your children even if they show no promising talent or interest?

 

Yes. I require them to try it once. I want them to at least understand the basics of sports for example so that if there is a pick up football game, they won't be the kid standing on the side who doesn't know how to play. I think learning the basic rules of sports are a social skill in America. Unfortunately.

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I look at each child individually.

 

Dd #1 has an interest, and a talent for working with animals. She has also showed us that she has a great deal of maturity and a strong work ethic, so we have made family sacrifices for her to develop her talent.

 

Ds is musically gifted. We spend a great deal of money for his private lessons and music camps. I would not hesitate to pull him out of some of his classes if he was not putting in enough effort, or if he was not showing us respect in other areas. We do always remind him that it is okay with us if he decides to quit or change gears. We want music to enrich his life, but he does not have to pursue it as a career just to make us happy.

 

Dd #2 is showing some talent for visual art. Unfortunately, she is also giving me a little back talk, and door slamming. I'm not willing to put out much money or effort for her, until she gets a handle on her attitude. My dad had our sewing machine repaired for her, and the people at the shop have classes that she would like to take. I can't see letting her do that until she shows me she can have a teachable spirit. I did buy her a simple pattern, and fabric, that she could work on by herself, but I put it in my closet, and I won't give it to her until she shows me that she is really making an effort to be enjoyable.

 

For me, talent is only half of the equation. Drive and persistence are also necessary to really succeed. I was a tryer, and a quitter as a kid, but none of the enrichment I received has been wasted.

 

Personally, I prefer a well-rounded kid, but you work with what you are given. If I had a kid (and #4 might be it) with the talent and determination to be world class in a particular field, I would help them in any way I could, but I would not try to "steer" them in that direction.

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Do you regret lack of opportunity as a child? Was there one thing that you wish you had been given the support to pursue?

On a few things, yes. In 5th grade, my sister was taking piano lessons and I wasn't. But I was the one who was completely interested--I would pick out things by ear and spend time "practicing". I LOVED it. So I got to take a few lessons. But then we had to move to another state. We sold our piano. And that was the end of that. I feel like I have a whole expanse of music inside that can't get out because I don't have the skill. Since then I tried taking lessons in college (a disaster--teacher was a mean lady!), and have taken guitar lessons, which I really enjoy but have had to put to the side a bit with the small kids and homeschooling, so I've not yet become proficient.

 

Boil it down to this: my parents were amazing in so many ways, but they didn't really help us find and develop our talents. As a result, my sister and I sort of feel like we missed something on that level.

 

Were you immersed in a sport or other talent (music, art, whatever) as a child? Was it a healthy thing for you? For your family? Any regrets?

 

No.

 

Do you have a child (or children) with specific talents or passions and what are you doing to encourage those?

 

Still waiting to see (my kids are young), but I see my kids have a strong interest in music. I will see how it develops and go from there. I definitely want them to take instrument lessons. Seems like they should take long enough to get proficient, but if they hate it after that, I probably would see where their passions lie.

 

 

What sacrifices are you willing to make to support your child, and what is too much? Would you pull your child out of a sport that they were excelling in if the strain on them or your family was too great?

If they have passion and talent in an area, seems reasonable to make a few sacrifices if neccessary. But as parents, we have to remember that we are the adults and we have to make decisions that are beneficial to the whole family, not just to one member. So I think it is not a bad lesson for a child to understand that sometimes they might have to give up something for the good of the family.

 

Do you place more value on a child being 'well-rounded' or on them delving deep into one thing? Does this coincide with your educational values? (Since a strict classical education often values deep rather than wide...) Which do you think will serve them best in adulthood?

I think both of these things are important. Well-rounded will go a long way to help in life in general. But a special focus on what they're talented in can help them learn discipline, skill, and give confidence.

 

When I was in K, I was reading on a 7th grade level. The school wanted me to skip to 2nd grade. But my mom (who is quite the intellectual, herself) didn't want me to be all about intellect. She wanted me to have friends, a social aspect. So she kept me at my age level. I appreciate this, because I could have easily followed intellectual pursuits and missed out on relationships. Her efforts helped balance me.

 

 

Do you think focusing (assuming a large time-commitment) on one thing robs children of their childhood?

 

It probably can.

 

And (last question, I promise) do you require certain activities of your children even if they show no promising talent or interest?

 

I want them to try a sport, at least for a while, to learn skill, develop their physical self, and learn team dynamics. And I want them to learn an instrument, if for no other reason than I think it's an important skill that translates across disciplines.

__________________

 

Thanks for this thread!!

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My kid brother was good at baseball, track...he ended getting a sports medicine degree, then a teaching certificate, and is the track coach and biology teacher at Oceanside High school. Tenured, too.

 

Even if a hopeful does not fulfill an Olympic dream, trying with all their might and main can only build character. And may lead to other things.

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So, my questions:

 

Do you regret lack of opportunity as a child? Absolutely!

 

Was there one thing that you wish you had been given the support to pursue? Music, Singing, Drama

 

Were you immersed in a sport or other talent (music, art, whatever) as a child? NO Was it a healthy thing for you? For your family? Any regrets?

 

Do you have a child (or children) with specific talents or passions and what are you doing to encourage those? Yes. He is not settled into any one thing yet, but has a passion for science, is military oriented or wants to make movies. How's that for diversity?

 

We had a long discussion about creating a "resume" of activities if he is truly interested in the miltary and pursuing getting into a military academy. He was very receptive. I never remember my parents giving me any type of guidance about my future activities.

 

What sacrifices are you willing to make to support your child, and what is too much? Would you pull your child out of a sport that they were excelling in if the strain on them or your family was too great? Finances are our greatest challenge. I'm already preparing dh for the costs of some of the future activities. Right now he is not involved in anything extra.

 

Do you place more value on a child being 'well-rounded' or on them delving deep into one thing? Does this coincide with your educational values? (Since a strict classical education often values deep rather than wide...) Which do you think will serve them best in adulthood? I was thinking about this earlier today. I don't want him to miss his passion because I felt he must do x as part of his education. I also don't want him to get pigeon-holed either. I think open lines of communication are vital. I know we spend more time on science because he loves that.

 

Do you think focusing (assuming a large time-commitment) on one thing robs children of their childhood? Not if the child has a passion for it. Again, I think open lines of communication are vital.

 

And (last question, I promise) do you require certain activities of your children even if they show no promising talent or interest? At this point, no. We did talk about him getting involved in a team sport to show teamwork. He has little interest but has agreed to try basketball this fall.

 

I know I've asked a lot. Feel free to only answer one question (or two...) if you have .02 to offer. :)

 

 

I think it is easier for me to be a better parent in that respect. The internet allows so many outlooks for asking for help, like here. I can look at college websites and find out in 2 minutes what they like to see from homeschoolers. I can search for any number of activities all over the country or world.

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I've always enjoyed watching the Olympics. I find it inspiring to watch the athletes. I enjoy the personal stories that are featured.

 

But, I wonder, what sacrifices have been made, and are they really worth it? Especially for the Olympic hopefuls who never made it? The insane practices. The strain on bodies. The relationships torn apart. The family whose existence revolves around the child who is really talented at something. Siblings getting left behind. The money poured into the sport. Missing out on other great things in life because there was no time.

 

On the other end of the spectrum, as a child (and an adult) I've wished often that I was really good at *something* (though I didn't have the obvious talent nor probably the self-discipline).

 

My family did few activities because my parents chose to lead a quiet, unhurried life. My mom in particular hated the overscheduled rushing to and fro. Both parents placed a high value in spending time as a family, and as a result, I had one of the best childhoods of anyone that I've been acquainted with.

 

When it comes to my boys, though, I want their world to be a little larger than mine was as a child. I want more opportunities for them. I want them to experience the discipline of delving into something that they are good at and developing their skill. They are also completely different in personality than my sisters and I were as children, and may need much more activity to keep them out of trouble. :)

 

I have two friends who had similar childhoods to my own and still hold it against their parents that they were never given the opportunity to ride horses. (Not the easiest thing logistically or monetarily...both had siblings neither family was weathly by any stretch of the imagination). Both of them desperately wanted to learn horseback riding. Both of them have fulfilled that dream as adults and have sworn that their children will have the opportunity to ride horses. But what if their children hate horses and desperately want to water ski? Okay, this happened to me. I loved horses and always wanted to ride and own my own horse. My kids showed a little interest and were immediately in lessons. They like it we bought horses. They didn't like it all that much. Horses sold. It was my dream that I was pushing on them. Kids let you know when they want something or not.

 

Another friend has two daughters who play softball. One in particular is really talented. They spend months at a time traveling every weekend. One daughter with the mom, the other daughter with her dad, each in a different city. It has put a strain on the marriage and probably the finances, but the oldest daughter will be going to college on a huge scholarship and her identity is tied up a great deal in her pitching.

 

So, my questions:

 

Do you regret lack of opportunity as a child? Regret, no. .Was there one thing that you wish you had been given the support to pursue? Yes.

 

Were you immersed in a sport or other talent (music, art, whatever) as a child? Yes. Was it a healthy thing for you? YesFor your family? Yes Any regrets? Yes. My parents could not afford a higher level of training. I would have liked to have had it. I do not have any ill feelings about not having that level of training. It just would have been nice to know what I could have done. Also, I just truly enjoyed my sport. I have been very careful about making sure that I am not the one doing the pushing my kids. I am constantly asking them if this is what THEY want. They are getting annoyed with my asking.

 

Do you have a child (or children) with specific talents or passions and what are you doing to encourage those? Yes. We are pursuing it to the level the child and parents feel comfortable. That means fully committing.

 

What sacrifices are you willing to make to support your child, and what is too much? Would you pull your child out of a sport that they were excelling in if the strain on them or your family was too great? I'm getting up at hours that I wouldn't have considered. If the strain was too great, I would pull them out. If they were in physical danger, I would pull them out.

 

Do you place more value on a child being 'well-rounded' or on them delving deep into one thing? Does this coincide with your educational values? (Since a strict classical education often values deep rather than wide...) Which do you think will serve them best in adulthood? You can be well rounded while delving deeply into one area. It is not a choice of only having one. Actually, it is exactly fitting with my educational values.

 

Do you think focusing (assuming a large time-commitment) on one thing robs children of their childhood? I think it depends on how it is done. For the most part, I believe it adds to the childhood.

 

And (last question, I promise) do you require certain activities of your children even if they show no promising talent or interest? Yes.

 

I know I've asked a lot. Feel free to only answer one question (or two...) if you have .02 to offer. :)

My.o2 following to address your first paragraph.

 

As a parent who has a child with Olympic dreams that are a possibility and who has witnessed other such families as they have gone down the same path I will answer your questions to the best of my ability. My child has the dream of making national and Olympic cuts. Her chances of actually making an Olympic team are, in my opinion, slim. However, I won't fall over dead from shock if she does. She has the determination and the drive. If she doesn't, she won't be dismayed. I feel that I need to allow her to try to reach her dream.

 

For the most part, the demands are met only because the child wants the dream. If it is the parents' dream, it won't make it very far.

 

Are the sacrifices worth it? I'm not sure if there are sacrifices. I've not looked at it that way at all. There are just different options and you choose from them. A sacrifice isn't made, a choice is made.

 

Insane practices. Insane to whom? We will most likely start getting up at 4 a.m. this year to attend morning practices an hour away from the house. Some may consider it insane, my girls consider it fun. We just live a different schedule than other people do. We will take a little siesta in the afternoon before leaving for the evening practice.

 

Strain on bodies. Haven't really noticed it at this point. It has been very good for my kids physically. We are just getting to the intense workout stage. It is increased gradually. We are in a good program that has produced other Olympians, they know what they are doing, and I watch them like a hawk. I will not allow them to harm their adult bodies to do sports.

 

Relationships torn apart? It has made our family closer. The kids all go to practice together. We travel to competitions together. It is a family bonding experience. We all cheer for each child. The one with all the promise, she cheers and supports her siblings just as much as they support her.

 

Family revolving around the child. Our schedule tends to revolve around the children. Honestly, it would be that way even if it weren't for their sport.

 

Siblings left behind. Well, fortunantly, our sport is set up so that all the kids can participate at their own level. There was a great deal of jealousy over the one who is particularly talented. For the most part, they are just extremely proud to be her sister/brother. It is genuine. This is what I have seen in every family with potential high level athletes. The jealousy is usually over in a short amount of time.

 

Money poured into the sport. Well, you have me there. We have poured money into it. Funny thing is, we would be pouring the money into other sports if it weren't for this one. We are an athletic family. I spend a fortune in gas. This summer, we are actually taking a break and not doing the hour drive to practice. I've found that I spend even more money on gas than I did before. All of 4 of my kids go to practice at the same time, so even though it is an hour away I drive less than if I was running all over town to 4 different places dropping off and picking up. The fees are the same as any sport. The travel expenses do add up. But, I like to travel. I consider it educational.

 

Missing out on great things because there was no time. I haven't seen that to be a problem. We have had horses, camped, traveled the country, skiied, play musical instruments, pretty much all opportunities have been had. Other than flying in an airplane. I don't like airplanes.

 

Editing to add: I answered this in perspective to Olympic dreams. I noticed others were including other passions and talents. The child that I have to watch the closest has an artistic ability. She is currently banned from drawing, writing, and computer art because she has injured her wrist from over use. This is the child I have to put restraints on her passion. Who would think that a pencil would be more physically dangerous than a sport???

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Thanks for the input, Heather!

 

I like the idea of making kids pay part or all of certain fees associated with an activity. I realize that might not be possible sometimes, but it could be a great way for a child to show they were really serious.

 

I, too, would like my boys to know the basic rules for a few sports so that they could enjoy casual games with friends.

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I enjoyed the story you shared about being well-rounded. I think we as parents have so many decisions to make that will affect our children for life. A little scary! I agree that various casual activities and developing a specific skill can be balanced so that our kids get the best of both.

 

Thanks for participating!

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Thank you for sharing, Paula!

 

I agree that good communication between parents and kids is vital! My parents didn't communicate or guide much as far as our future went, either. Maybe because they had 3 girls who didn't seem to have specific passions? I don't know. We were raised very traditionally, but my parents never said we had to get married and have kids. I think they would have supported us in other things, but maybe they didn't really know how to encourage and guide in a specific way.

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I really appreciate you sharing, Lolly!!

 

I didn't mean to say that all of those sacrifices are made by every Olympian, but that they could be distinct possibilities.

 

I liked the way you've obviously made deliberate choices in your life. Sounds like you have a wonderful family! That is wonderful that your kids can all be in the same program and have the same interests. The sports we've considered and/or are participating in are family-friendly such as swimming and Tae Kwon Do. I think the difficulty there would be if not all of the kids were interested in the same sport, or two or more kids showed talent in completely different sports or activities.

 

I would be curious to know the percentage of Olympic athletes who have had fairly serious injuries, particularly ones that will affect their bodies as they get older. It seems that any athletic training at the higher levels would be a strain on the body. It seems like many of the stories featured on TV include details about surgeries, etc., but that could be entertainment value. :) I know my husband has shoulder problems from his swimming days and I was thinking about how many gymnasts get injured at some point in their career. Your story about your daughter's wrist injury made me re-think that. I guess injury is just a part of life. :)

 

Again, I really appreciate you sharing your experiences!

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Do you regret lack of opportunity as a child? Was there one thing that you wish you had been given the support to pursue?

I'm so grateful that my parents (and my father's parents too) worked really hard to give my siblings and me *tremendous* opportunity to try things, to have the tools to succeed... We did things together and we did things separately, and because we were home schooled, I never truly felt "over" scheduled. There was time to explore, and I'm tremendously grateful for the exposure I had, even when it's not immediately obvious in my daily life how I use those things...

 

My mother had no opportunity to try much of anything as a child, and she was determined that her children would have the chance to *try*. If our passion was out there, she wanted us to find it. And I'm incredibly grateful for that.

Were you immersed in a sport or other talent (music, art, whatever) as a child? Was it a healthy thing for you? For your family? Any regrets?

I was given the chance to try a number of things, and also to focus at times in my childhood as well. I spent a lot of time on ice skating and also on ballet. I was never in any danger of becoming "the best" or even "fantastically good" at those things, but I'm *so* grateful that I was given the opportunity to be the best that *I* could be. I don't skate any more (well, I did for the first time in *years* a few weeks ago, and it hurt like crazy, but it still brought me great joy), but I'm still tremendously glad I did it. Ballet, even more so. No, I never became a dancer, never taught dance, none of those things. But it has made a lifelong difference in the way I carry my body, the use I can make of my body... And even now, I sometimes have the chance to go back to dance classes, and even though I'm no good at all, lol, I love it!

 

Do you have a child (or children) with specific talents or passions and what are you doing to encourage those?

There's not "one thing" that stands out with either of them yet. (My dd told me that she was "meant to dance" that she has been "dancing [her] whole life", lol, but it's still pretty early to say that... My son loves acting, but he's young yet too...) But I do try to give them the chance to try things, and I've encouraged them to pursue things they love, even it they don't show signs that they have the potential to be "the best" at anything. My son dances. He's kind of gangly and floppy. ;) I don't think this will be his lifelong passion. But he enjoys it, he's learning control of his body, he's learning to work hard, he's gaining poise... I also try to encourage his talents that are not "activity"-related -- his math ability, his love of writing...

 

What sacrifices are you willing to make to support your child, and what is too much? Would you pull your child out of a sport that they were excelling in if the strain on them or your family was too great?

I *think* I would make a great many sacrifices for something my child *loved* and was deeply committed to. My baby sister, unlike my brother and I (who tried a many of things -- pursued some of them throughout our childhoods -- but were never going to be phenomenally good at any of them), is in fact one of the best in the world at her sport. Yes, it's been hard on my parents (and my sister) in some ways. When my dd said something about wanting to try gymnastics, my sister joked, "Don't do it! I did it because I had to!"... But she didn't mean because anyone made her, she meant because it was internal -- she truly couldn't help but do it. (And with her, her talent was obvious from her first year of life.)

 

I think my *father* would say it has been worth it (most days, lol). My *sister* would say it has been worth it, but that she wouldn't wish it on anyone else. My mother would throw up her hands and say she hopes that someday she's sure it was worth it.

 

But they couldn't have *not* done this for this child.

 

Do you place more value on a child being 'well-rounded' or on them delving deep into one thing? Does this coincide with your educational values? (Since a strict classical education often values deep rather than wide...) Which do you think will serve them best in adulthood?

I want my kids to have exposure to music, the arts, some sports, dance... But I don't think they need "classes" in everything all the time. I would rather something struck them and they pursued it with diligence -- but I don't want to push one particular thing on them if it's not a *passion* for them.

 

Do you think focusing (assuming a large time-commitment) on one thing robs children of their childhood?

I think this is one o the reasons I love home schooling. It gives kids a chance to pursue so many things without robbing them of the time to stare at leaves or build circuses out of paper and scotch tape.

 

And (last question, I promise) do you require certain activities of your children even if they show no promising talent or interest?

I would require one activity that emphasis physical control -- perhaps even especially for a child who isn't particularly physical. ;)

 

And I will require (though haven't done so yet) some basic musical literacy (in the form of at least two years of instruction on an instrument and music theory). I just consider that part of school. The same with some basic drawing. I don't expect my kids to be *good*. But I consider familiarity with music and theory and an ability to draw what one sees as vital elements of a full life.

 

------------------

 

I guess my thought is that yes, if my kids showed some tremendous potential *and* the accompanying passion, I would support that in every way I can. To the detriment of my family? No. But to the inconvenience of myself and their father? sure... I think there's great value in pursuing something you love, even if you *don't* have the kind of talent that will send you to the Olympics or even make a career of it...

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Thanks Abbeyej! It is nice to hear that you feel ballet and ice skating added something worthwhile to your life in the long run as well as enjoying it as a child.

 

One of the reasons I chose to homeschool is that it gives us more time to be a family and for my kids to be kids even if we choose to do additional activities. So much flexibility!

 

Thanks for sharing about your sister. It is interesting that she feels like it is something she *had* to do (or couldn't *not* do). I wonder how many top athletes (musicians, etc.) feel that way in spite of any difficulties. Probably the majority!

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So, my questions:

 

Do you regret lack of opportunity as a child? Was there one thing that you wish you had been given the support to pursue?I wish I had been able to take more private music lessons young.

 

Were you immersed in a sport or other talent (music, art, whatever) as a child? Was it a healthy thing for you? For your family? Any regrets? I did quite a bit of music stuff/dance from about 10yo on. It was *mostly* a healthy thing. There were some times that a performance required outfits that, as an adult, I don't approve.

 

Do you have a child (or children) with specific talents or passions and what are you doing to encourage those? My dc are still very young, but I want to ancourage their specific life callings as much as I can.

 

What sacrifices are you willing to make to support your child, and what is too much? Would you pull your child out of a sport that they were excelling in if the strain on them or your family was too great? I won't sacrifice basic necessities, and I consider the 3R's necessities. If I thought participating in a sport was harming them, you bet I'd pull them out!

 

Do you place more value on a child being 'well-rounded' or on them delving deep into one thing? Does this coincide with your educational values? (Since a strict classical education often values deep rather than wide...) Which do you think will serve them best in adulthood? Depends on the child, and their gifts and personality.

 

Do you think focusing (assuming a large time-commitment) on one thing robs children of their childhood? It depends on how the child views that thing, and if the parents PUSH or FACILITATE. I wish my mom had done more facilitating by means of seeking out ways to foster my talent. She was afraid to push.....

 

And (last question, I promise) do you require certain activities of your children even if they show no promising talent or interest? I think I will require one physical activity - to keep fit, and one instrument to learn - at least the basics. These don't need to be high pressure things, or even events that we go and do. I think both music and sports have their place in a good education. Not every kid who studies ancient history becomes an archeologist, but they all benefit kwim.

 

It's difficult to uncover talent and potential if the child never has the opportunity to grow a skill. At the same time, the child is more important than the skill. So, if I had a dc who wanted to compete in the Olymics I would give up my pedicures(yeah right - whats' that?:lol:) to pay for lessons, but I do see how it can be a fine line between supporting and getting wrapped up into the hype and letting that one thing overtake your life.

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Do you regret lack of opportunity as a child? Was there one thing that you wish you had been given the support to pursue? We were allowed to pursue one sport at a time so I was able to really hone in on what I liked and not take away from my education. I dearly wished though that we'd have had the resources so that I could take piano lessons. I don't have any hard feelings about it, however, my mom and grandma just recently bought us a piano so I'm learning along with my girls.

 

Were you immersed in a sport or other talent (music, art, whatever) as a child? Yes, but again, I couldn't do it if my grades slipped. Was it a healthy thing for you? Absolutely! For your family? Any regrets? None! Oh well, maybe one. I wished I'd have known there was going to be a Women's professional basketball league. I was really really good but with no hope of every having it go somewhere, I quit to pursue other things. There were many of us who quit for those reasons.

 

Do you have a child (or children) with specific talents or passions and what are you doing to encourage those? Yep! My 9yo showed early on that she has talent for drawing/painting. She takes private art lessons. Dd 6yo has a natural talent for the piano and is moving faster in her lessons that dd 9yo.

 

What sacrifices are you willing to make to support your child, and what is too much? As long as it didn't interfere with family and education, we'd go for it. Would you pull your child out of a sport that they were excelling in if the strain on them or your family was too great? In a heartbeat!

 

Do you place more value on a child being 'well-rounded' or on them delving deep into one thing? Yes and No. Does this coincide with your educational values? (Since a strict classical education often values deep rather than wide...) Which do you think will serve them best in adulthood? One reason we homeschool is so that we can allow our children to follow their natural callings. I can already say that my 9yo is not going to do anything with science or math so we'll do what she needs to get into college.

 

Do you think focusing (assuming a large time-commitment) on one thing robs children of their childhood? I wouldn't say "robs" but it could certainly interfere. My personal feelings on the matter are that we allow them at young ages to try things out to see what they like and then hone in on what they're good at later on when they can handle the responsibilities. That would hopefully be late enough that they've enjoyed a good childhood and can then move on to the next part of their lives.

 

And (last question, I promise) do you require certain activities of your children even if they show no promising talent or interest? No not really. We'll require all necessary education for college (in case they want to go that route) but for instance, if they want to quit soccer or piano, they can do so. They just have to wait until the pay period is over. :)

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I'll play. It keeps my mind off other things... :001_smile:

 

Do you regret lack of opportunity as a child? Was there one thing that you wish you had been given the support to pursue? NOW (not as a child) I wish I would have taken dance. I so want to be able to dance hip hop! lol I didn't know I didn't have opportunity when I was a child, because life was what it was! I didn't know any different. Mom was a single mom raising two girls. Working full time as a teacher and taking care of us after school (while going to school still herself) was a full-time commitment. She did what she could.

 

Were you immersed in a sport or other talent (music, art, whatever) as a child? Was it a healthy thing for you? For your family? Any regrets? Just soccer in the summers, which suited my mom's job perfectly. It was good for me; I loved it. She also made sure my sis and I could swim well. I played rep for a couple of years, too. I don't think it took a toll on the family. No regrets.

 

Do you have a child (or children) with specific talents or passions and what are you doing to encourage those? I WISH my oldest DD had drive! She'd be great at swimming (teacher told me she could compete with her backstroke) and soccer (coach she had for two years told me she was a very smart player, just not driven). It's very difficult for me to watch dd not compete the way I'd like her to compete!!!

 

On another note, we do what we can for our kids within the parameters that work for our family. Up until this year the two older kids played hockey, but not for the town, which would cost WAY more money and take up WAY more time. They've played with a church league...one night, hardly any money. Having said that, we noticed this year that they're falling behind the kids that have played with the town (due to more ice time). Soooo, we're sucking up the time and money factor and putting them in the town leagues. We'll see how it goes.

 

Also my dh likes to downhill ski, so one year we bought weekly memberships for the three of them to get better/have fun. They need to be taught because it'll be a family sport. So, hockey and skiing...things my dh likes to do...that's how we've encouraged them (I'm more swimming/soccer, so I tend to be more responsible for summer sports).

 

They also take piano, but ONLY because the teacher is SO inexpensive ($12 for three kids). It's important they learn some music!

 

Having said all that, I really should ask them if they want to do something else. They haven't complained thus far!

What sacrifices are you willing to make to support your child, and what is too much? Would you pull your child out of a sport that they were excelling in if the strain on them or your family was too great?

 

Rep hockey is BIG in our town. BIG. Did I mention BIG? lol We have friends who sacrifice A LOT to have only one child in rep. We've talked about what we'd do if it were our child...would we give more to the one and not the others? Gosh, it's hard to answer it honestly because we're not in that situation. If we were, God would give us His wisdom to know what to do. I guess I've come to the conclusion that if I'm not in that situation, it's completely impossible for me to judge what to do! (So I'm not sure what sacrifices I'd make...it'd depend on what I felt God was leading me to do.)

 

Again, if the strain on the family was too great and we felt led to pull the child out, I would in a heartbeat! I would seek the Lord's will!

 

Do you place more value on a child being 'well-rounded' or on them delving deep into one thing? Does this coincide with your educational values? (Since a strict classical education often values deep rather than wide...) Which do you think will serve them best in adulthood?

 

There's only so much time in a day/week/month/year...so if my child were talented in something, I'd definitely pursue it and be more of a deep than wide person. Having said that, we spend most of our extra-curricular activity money on sports. It's just who we are. Amen!

Do you think focusing (assuming a large time-commitment) on one thing robs children of their childhood?

 

Not if God wanted it. Some people are just naturally talented! It may, and it may not. Hard to say unless you're in that person's shoes, I think.

 

And (last question, I promise) do you require certain activities of your children even if they show no promising talent or interest?

 

Yup, piano, math, reading, etc....lolol!!!! We gave up having oldest dd play soccer this year. That was HARD for me! :) But, she gave it a good go and did it for five years. My son doesn't particularly like piano, but he doesn't have the freedom to give it up yet. I'm not sure when the day will come....maybe when he does it without complaining (showing that he's developed character), maybe when I think he's learned enough...I'm not sure.

I think there's something to be said about sticking with something and learning it, even when it's hard, though. For my son, he just plain old doesn't want to be bothered...but he's also shown this attitude when I ask him to do math, or read. He's characterized by being lazy and not trying.

 

Did I answer the questions ok???? This is a great thread, Heidi!

 

BTW, a little plug for Heidi's blog....I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it, so if you haven't checked it out, head on over. Please click on her projects link as Heidi's quite the accomplished decorator!

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I grew up in a home (actually 2) where talent led the family. One home was MUCH worse than the other. First the mild one- My dad grew up in Brazil and soccer is his heart. My brothers are amazing soccer players. They traveled all over every weekend from about 10 on to play. In the end, my one brother lost his faith in God and the other was injured and therefore not able to continue as competitively as he was before the injury. He still plays in college though. It caused some family struggles- my brothers were not at my wedding reception because they had a tournament to go to. My dad asked me to change my wedding date after the invitations were mailed because of that stupid soccer match... There are some hard feelings on my part because soccer overtook family which, in my mind was not ok.

 

The second story is more extreme.

My little sister grew up on the tennis court (my mom's home, which I lived in most of my growing up years). She played competitively from the age of about 7. By 9 she was sponsored by HEAD and then later K-SWISS and some other company. At 14 she was nationally ranked. My parents moved from HI to FL so she could train. She trained for a time with the brother of Chris Everett. Her best friend through High School was Andy Rodick. She trained 5-6 hours per day 7 days per week. She was headed to pro and dreamed of pro. She played in tournaments nationally and did very well. We even spent Christmas day on the tennis court. Because the school she attended didn't want to allow her to skip 2 periods a day for practice, she and the other tennis playing families started their own private school so they could keep playing. When she was a junior in high school, her back began to hurt. She spent months going from one specialist to another. She say the athletic trainer for the Dolphins and other renowned specialists. She spent quite a bit of time in traction and saw a little improvement. She kept playing and landed a full ride scholarship to Irving (she was offered a full ride at several other LARGE sports schools but she chose Irving because it was in CA and she wanted to return to CA). It was then discovered that my sister had chemically altered 2 disks in her back and one was nearly gone (at age 17). She was told to fuse her back but she chose not to. She found a doctor in San Fransisco who was doing an experimental procedure which included literally hundreds of injections into the back. They provided some relief and she played for Irving for one year. Most of that year she missed most classes because she was in so much pain. She eventually withdrew due to injury and quit school. She was determined to heal and continue to play. She then got a full scholarship to a small school in Texas. She played a year and eventually withdrew again due to injury. She is now 26 and lives in pain much of the time. She still is having injections (her back looks like a porcupine stuck her when she has a treatment) and she is teaching children. She was never able to realize her dream because of severe injury. My parents poured thousands and thousands of dollars into her training with the hopes that one day she would go to college for free- which she would have had she not been in so much pain. Her training got in the way of family relationships and nearly cost her the ability to walk.

So, no, I will not support sports to that degree. Yes, I will let my kids participate in sports, but we will not be heading out on the competitive circuit.

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Do you regret lack of opportunity as a child? Was there one thing that you wish you had been given the support to pursue?

I had tons of opportunities growing up... and very, very little talent! LOL Okay that's not entirely true -- I was very good at math and art, and okay at music. But I tried a LOT of things I was really really bad at, and I'm glad I did, because I don't have any illusion that it was a lack of opportunity that made me bad at them! ;)

 

Were you immersed in a sport or other talent (music, art, whatever) as a child? Was it a healthy thing for you? For your family? Any regrets?

I did a lot of dabbling, mostly, and was only immersed in a few things (and not always for long...) Given that there were four of us, I'm honestly terribly impressed that my parents managed to give us all the options they did. They didn't shove us into anything (although my mom had high hopes that ballet would improve my posture... oh well! LOL) and they let us all do what we were good at and try things we weren't.

 

Do you have a child (or children) with specific talents or passions and what are you doing to encourage those?

DS is good at a few different things, and we do give him pretty free rein in those areas. We let him fly ahead in his math and science, and find mentors and outside teachers for him where my own time or interests are lacking.

 

What sacrifices are you willing to make to support your child, and what is too much? Would you pull your child out of a sport that they were excelling in if the strain on them or your family was too great?

I can't imagine answering "no" to that, the way it's phrased... I mean, of course we'd all pull our kids out of activities if the strain were too great -- the question is where that point is for each of us. I'd venture to say it's different for every family. In our case we've made a concerted effort to keep our evenings and weekends as free as possible. If there's no other option, we'll give up an evening or a weekend here or there, but as a rule it's family time. So I'd draw the line at something that routinely required more than two evenings a week, which rules out some pretty "normal" stuff like soccer and year-round swimming, around here. But I'm happy to give up a piece of each day as long as it's not interfering with regular schoolwork, which means we have time for quite a lot of things, actually... and if I listed them all I'm sure someone else could look at it and say it would be too much for them... kwim?

 

Do you place more value on a child being 'well-rounded' or on them delving deep into one thing? Does this coincide with your educational values? (Since a strict classical education often values deep rather than wide...) Which do you think will serve them best in adulthood?

I think you have to teach the child you have. If you have a child, as was described earlier in this thread, who ~has~ to be a gymnast, then it's worth it to focus (carefully). If you don't, then I like to aim for something in the middle -- allowing the child to pursue his interests and delve deep into areas of strength, but not at the expense of everything else falling by the wayside. There are basic skills that everyone needs -- a single talent is rarely enough to get you through a whole life intact. But conversely I don't think any amount of trying to "round out" a specialist is going to keep them from being who they are. If they really are hyperfocused on one area, show great talent and drive, and desperately need to follow that path, then I think you really need to let that happen... while also making sure they have those basic skills to take care of themselves (like understanding contracts!) and pick themseves up if something should end the dream career.

 

Do you think focusing (assuming a large time-commitment) on one thing robs children of their childhood?

No. It does make for a very different childhood, but honestly I don't believe in that whole "robbed of childhood" thing in general. I do think that shoving a child into committing to something they were never meant to do, or keeping them from things they enjoy, makes for a much less pleasant childhood than one would hope for. My own idyllic childhood involves a lot of dabbling and a lot of free time, but then I already had my own idyllic childhood :) and it might not be at all what DS would want for himself.

 

And (last question, I promise) do you require certain activities of your children even if they show no promising talent or interest?

Yup! DS is required to swim, for safety reasons. He has virtually no talent for swimming, and only moderate interest. He is not required to join the swim team (he doesn't have the qualifying times anyway except for recreational league... which he tries about every third year and ends up regretting), but he is required to swim. At this point, having had lessons for over six years, he is comfortable in the water and has good endurance, but terrible form and no speed to speak of. He's also required to have one other athletic pursuit of his choice (currently rock climbing) and something artistic or musical (currently flute). He's really pretty good at flute, and enjoys it, but we're not calling Juilliard or anything! LOL

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Do you regret lack of opportunity as a child? No

 

Was there one thing that you wish you had been given the support to pursue? Not that I can think of at the moment

 

Were you immersed in a sport or other talent (music, art, whatever) as a child? Yes, horses, music, theater

 

Was it a healthy thing for you? For your family? Any regrets? Yes, and no. On the one hand, I did continue in music and it has been a life-long gift. On the other hand, I think school and activities were at the sacrifice of family and the connections, place of belonging, etc. I gained from the activities, but I can't say my childhood was *necessarily* the better for it. I was often miserable a lot for no good reason. No abuse, no dysfunction, just no grounding. I'm glad one activity included a horse. That's what kept me from rebelling. I don't think it was just activities though. Separate lives from school, media, and the whole package played a role.

 

Do you have a child (or children) with specific talents or passions and what are you doing to encourage those? Older daughters - writing. I'm not doing much for that. They live eat and breathe it all on their own. My son has a great deal of musical talent and we are putting a lot of effort in that but keep him diverse with a few other things.

 

What sacrifices are you willing to make to support your child, and what is too much? We already cut back in many areas to afford the lessons. I don't mind financial sacrifice. "Too much" would be if the family suffered or pressure brought on stress.

 

Would you pull your child out of a sport that they were excelling in if the strain on them or your family was too great? Absolutely, but cutting back or redirecting to something more manageable is always a first choice.

 

Do you place more value on a child being 'well-rounded' or on them delving deep into one thing? Does this coincide with your educational values? (Since a strict classical education often values deep rather than wide...) Which do you think will serve them best in adulthood? I like what Ben Franklin said (and is often misquoted): "Jack of all trades, master of one." I want them to master a few things but not to the exclusion of everything else.

 

Do you think focusing (assuming a large time-commitment) on one thing robs children of their childhood? Yes, when not balanced and kept in check.

 

And (last question, I promise) do you require certain activities of your children even if they show no promising talent or interest? No. I do keep their learning diverse at home, but if you're referring to outside activities, we only give a time and money commitment to priorities.

 

BTW, my daughters have always had a passion for horses and desperately wanted to ride. That's not something we could have ever afforded, even if we sacrificed the music lessons. I hope they don't grow up bitter for something like that. If you're going to be annoyed at not getting to do something, I think being annoyed at something drastic, like not being taught to read or brush your teeth, would be more appropriate.

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Do you regret lack of opportunity as a child? Not really- I played piano, well enough to pick and play some Christmas carols or somehting now, and danced ballet. I was a disastrous ballerina, despite almost 10 years at it. :DI can help my DD a wee bit now, though, because I know ballet terminology- the only useful application ballet has ever had for my life!

 

 

Was there one thing that you wish you had been given the support to pursue? No.

 

Were you immersed in a sport or other talent (music, art, whatever) as a child? Not really.

 

Was it a healthy thing for you? For your family? Any regrets?

Yes, it gave me some basic musical ability (always good) and the ballet terminology previously mentioned!

 

Do you have a child (or children) with specific talents or passions and what are you doing to encourage those? Possibly. My youngest DD is quite good at rhythmic gymnastics, and loves it beyond reason. It is *not* a fun sport to train, so we're pretty sure its an indication she is insane. My oldest is a fair swimmer, competed for 3 years now on teams, but lacks the "drive" to really be competitive or super good or anything. Thats okay- I happen to love her laid-backness, compared to her little sisters crazy competitiveness.

 

 

What sacrifices are you willing to make to support your child, and what is too much? We cut out lots of other extracurriculuars- music lessons, for one. We couldn't afford both (expensive area) and figured we should do what the kids enjoy most- gymnastics and swimming. Neither was a terribly enthusiastic violinist, we'll pick it up again at some point, I guess.

 

Would you pull your child out of a sport that they were excelling in if the strain on them or your family was too great? Well, duh. But like other posters "too great" is so subjective. For us, 5 days a week of practice is no big deal, while for some it is too much.

 

Do you place more value on a child being 'well-rounded' or on them delving deep into one thing? Does this coincide with your educational values? (Since a strict classical education often values deep rather than wide...) Which do you think will serve them best in adulthood? If one has a real passion for something, as it seems my youngest does, I am okay with them not being so well rounded. Otherwise, I'd like some music skills, some athletics (already we have done baseball, soccer, swimming and artistic gymnastics)for fun and physical fitness, but I don't really mind if they don't excel at any one thing outside academics.

 

 

Do you think focusing (assuming a large time-commitment) on one thing robs children of their childhood? Well, we spend a large amount of time focused on home education, and the kids seem fine. ;) Seriously though- no, I don't. We all have fun at swim meets and RG meets.

 

And (last question, I promise) do you require certain activities of your children even if they show no promising talent or interest? Yes, basic music, to learn to swim (both already do, well), to stay active and fit.

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So, my questions:

 

Do you regret lack of opportunity as a child? Was there one thing that you wish you had been given the support to pursue?

 

I actually think that I was given a lot of great opportunities as a kid. My family wasn't particularly wealthy, but I was also an only child for eleven years, and at twelve I went to live with my grandparents, and so in effect became their only 'child' at home...so I think that had a lot to do with the amount of things I was able to do. I feel that while they didn't overtly encourage me in any one direction, they did allow me to pursue things when I wanted to, within reason.

 

Were you immersed in a sport or other talent (music, art, whatever) as a child? Was it a healthy thing for you? For your family? Any regrets??

 

I dabbled in dance and gymnastics, and gave both up, but in high school, I got into drama with a passion. Went to contests, appeared in the children's theatre at a local university...it was good for me, I think. No regrets about the involvement in that.

 

Do you have a child (or children) with specific talents or passions and what are you doing to encourage those?

 

Yes, lol. All of them have desires in a particular direction (except the three-year-old, but he's taking a tumbling class this year, too, just because he wanted to be part of the excitement, I think, and I thought he'd enjoy it. And get worn out. And I plan to encourage them as much as I can, within reason.

 

What sacrifices are you willing to make to support your child, and what is too much? Would you pull your child out of a sport that they were excelling in if the strain on them or your family was too great??

 

I'm willing to do quite a bit, actually. I've had some hearty 'discussions' with my husband about this, and we're always hammering out the middle ground...but I definitely believe in encouraging passions. Or directing them towards new ones that are more appropriate, if need be. I think it's good to try out several things, and have a mindset that values a little diversity now and then, just to keep the options open, in case a certain pursuit doesn't work out.

 

I can't say definitively what I'd do if I had a child who had a real, true, marketable talent for something time and energy-consuming, but I would lean towards imagining that I'd pull a child from something that wasn't serving the greater good. (See above about directing kids towards appropriate passions, lol).

 

Do you place more value on a child being 'well-rounded' or on them delving deep into one thing? Does this coincide with your educational values? (Since a strict classical education often values deep rather than wide...) Which do you think will serve them best in adulthood?

 

I place a lot of value on 'well-roundedness'. *But*...I'm also a believer in the Power of a Passion. I believe that encouraging my child who is crazy about reptiles has helped him, academically. I also believe it's kept him out of some trouble, by giving him a pretty harmless subject to be fascinated with, because he has a personality that tends to fixate on one thing, and I'd rather it be Geckos, Not Girls.

 

I do value depth, rather than broadness, most of the time...but I don't put interests on that level. I like for my kids to explore, and come up with a variety of potential interests and activities, because I think it helps the two who are most likely to fixate on certain things widen their horizons a little, and it gives the others (who don't really have that problem) more to choose from, and hopefully find something that will fit our schedule and parameters.

 

Do you think focusing (assuming a large time-commitment) on one thing robs children of their childhood?

 

I think it *could*...but I also think that a lot of kids who are involved in pursuits that require heavy commitments aren't typical. They may not *want* that 'normal' childhood, and as long as that's the case, I don't have a problem with spending a large amount of time on one activity. If it's the parent, pushing...that's another story. If it's taking more than an acceptable amount of time away from human relationships (family ones, especially), then I'd think twice, too.

 

And (last question, I promise) do you require certain activities of your children even if they show no promising talent or interest?

 

Nope, I don't 'require' participation in certain activities. By high school, I prefer that they take part in certain things...but I also prefer that they choose what they are, specifically (In other words, I like for them to have a physical activity, but it can be their choice). I like for younger kids to have activities, too, but again, I only suggest, and act on it if they show interest. With five kids, there just aren't resources for "Yes, you have to take X, Y, or Z." It has to be something really worthwhile, and desired, usually.

 

Interesting thread!

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Do you regret lack of opportunity as a child? Was there one thing that you wish you had been given the support to pursue? My parents didn't provide classes any of us kids. They actually discouraged it. I don't think they wanted to be committed financially or time wise. I would have loved to do something. My parents did support my art, but only in buying supplies, not taking me to classes.

 

Were you immersed in a sport or other talent (music, art, whatever) as a child? Was it a healthy thing for you? For your family? Any regrets? No.

 

Do you have a child (or children) with specific talents or passions and what are you doing to encourage those? Yes, my son is a competitive swimmer and he swims year round, dd is coming up behind him quickly in swimming too. His swimming costs me about $500 per mth and requires him to be driven to practice 5-6 days a week, and a swim meet out of town about once a month.

 

What sacrifices are you willing to make to support your child, and what is too much? Would you pull your child out of a sport that they were excelling in if the strain on them or your family was too great? I work an extra day a week to support his swimming and make sure our life fits around swimming. It would take a lot for me to take a child's passion away from him, but I would if I had to.

 

Do you place more value on a child being 'well-rounded' or on them delving deep into one thing? Does this coincide with your educational values? (Since a strict classical education often values deep rather than wide...) Which do you think will serve them best in adulthood? We try to find a balance. We try to find balance in our regular lives but in our off time, I don't mind the kids pursuing something with passion. I wouldn't let it jeopardize our school or our family unit though. I guess that as a generalization 6am-2pm is family and school, 2-7pm is swimming, after 7 is family. Swimming can't take over the other areas (unless it is momentary change, like a meet). Just like any other interests, we don't just do Latin for school, there has to be a balance, but if we have extra time and the kids want to do another lesson...that is fine.

 

Do you think focusing (assuming a large time-commitment) on one thing robs children of their childhood? No, I think it teaches them that you really have to put your heart and soul into somethings. As long as they are enjoying it and don't push out the rest of the world, I think it is fine. There has to be a balance though!

 

And (last question, I promise) do you require certain activities of your children even if they show no promising talent or interest? Yes, my kids have to try one team sport or individual sport every year. It can be the same year to year or different, it can be competitive or recreational. It can be a team they created in the neighborhood for all I care, all that matters it that they do something physical, that they are trying to get better at. It is more about striving to get better and achieving.

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Do you regret lack of opportunity as a child? Was there one thing that you wish you had been given the support to pursue?

No. I was really fortunate, my parents were supportive of all of our interests.

 

Were you immersed in a sport or other talent (music, art, whatever) as a child? I was a gymnast for many, many years. I played flute and piano until 9th grade. In 9th grade I had to choose and I chose gymnastics.

 

Was it a healthy thing for you? Yes and no. I learned much about competition, discipline, the benefits of really hard work. I also learned a bit about serious injury and eating disorders. Although, I have to say in the long run, even those two negatives ended up being positives in my life. Though I lost a scholarship to college due to injury, I was able to work as a coach through college (at a very decent wage) and pay for school with my skills. AND, I knew enough about eating disorders to alert parents whose daughters were headed down that path.

 

For your family? I think I might have driven a wedge between me and my sister. But, I can't be sure. We've never gotten along very well. It brought me and my parents closer - there are benefits to spending a lot of time in the car talking. Any regrets?None.

 

Do you have a child (or children) with specific talents or passions and what are you doing to encourage those? Like every parent, I think my kids are amazingly gifted and talented. :lol: I have one son who is passionate about magic and who is actually very good at it. Yes, it's kind of a weird thing, but we support it and help him as much as we can. I have one son who is, imo, a gifted artist and budding cinematographer. We try to support him as best we can, too. Another son is just "one of those people." I can't really explain it, he's just good at everything he does. People, even adults, will listen to him and follow his lead. It's weird. We support him, of course, but I find that I try to find even more challenges for him, to keep him humble. My youngest son hasn't found a specific thing he loves yet, but we allow him to pursue things that interest him when we can afford it. I'm interested to see what draws him in over the next few years.

 

What sacrifices are you willing to make to support your child, and what is too much? We sacrifice now for various lessons and activites. We will not/cannot go into debt, however. My kids are older and are expected to contribute to their pursuits. I did the same thing at their age.

 

Would you pull your child out of a sport that they were excelling in if the strain on them or your family was too great? If they excelled and were driven and passionate, I would do whatever I could to keep them in the sport.

 

Do you place more value on a child being 'well-rounded' or on them delving deep into one thing? I don't think the two are mutually exclusive. I was definitely absorbed in gymnastics, but I was also a good student, well-read, social, etc. Yes, I gave up a lot of things, but I don't think I was "un-well-rounded":lol:

 

Does this coincide with your educational values? (Since a strict classical education often values deep rather than wide...) Which do you think will serve them best in adulthood? I soooo wish I could have been homeschooled. My mom often says the same thing. The freedom to follow a passion AND really learn??? It would have been a dream come true.

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What good questions you ask, Heidi; very interesting to read all the answers here. It seems I am different than many in that I don't/wouldn't offer the degree of support some described here. Hmm...that doesn't sound very nice, does it? "I'm not supportive.":001_huh: I suppose my boys will have to take it up with their therapists some day.;)

 

I've always enjoyed watching the Olympics. I find it inspiring to watch the athletes. I enjoy the personal stories that are featured. But, I wonder, what sacrifices have been made, and are they really worth it? Especially for the Olympic hopefuls who never made it? The insane practices. The strain on bodies. The relationships torn apart. The family whose existence revolves around the child who is really talented at something. Siblings getting left behind. The money poured into the sport. Missing out on other great things in life because there was no time.

 

Yep, these are the questions that run through my brain, too.

 

On the other end of the spectrum, as a child (and an adult) I've wished often that I was really good at *something* (though I didn't have the obvious talent nor probably the self-discipline).

 

I feel that way now, as an adult. I wish I excelled at something, but I admittedly don't have the talent or self-discipline.

 

My family did few activities because my parents chose to lead a quiet, unhurried life. My mom in particular hated the overscheduled rushing to and fro. Both parents placed a high value in spending time as a family, and as a result, I had one of the best childhoods of anyone that I've been acquainted with.

 

There's a lot to be said for a quiet, unhurried life and I admire your parents for making that choice.

 

Do you regret lack of opportunity as a child? Was there one thing that you wish you had been given the support to pursue?

 

I feel my parents supported me as best they were able. We were not financially well off, but they provided piano instruction for me as well as various other activities. What was lacking, in retrospect, was more active guidance. But as I said, they did what they were able, given financial and time constraints and the fact that they were raised in different cultures altogether (Depression-era America and WWII Germany). That and the fact that I honestly didn't have any great talents. My ice skating instructor went on to coach numerous Olympic medalists. Suffice to say I'm not one of them.:D (Nor do I ever ice skate now!)

 

Do you have a child (or children) with specific talents or passions and what are you doing to encourage those?

 

We don't go out of our way to engage in anything beyond the average participation in outside activities. All my boys are very into soccer and would gladly play at a more challenging (and consuming) level rather than the rec league. Per (second son) in particular is quite gifted at soccer, as a goalie. He wanted to try out for the development league, which leads into an expensive, traveling league. We didn't allow him to do so because we aren't willing to involve our family at that level. My oldest son was at a soccer day camp this summer and the coach, who coaches at a university across the border, pulled him aside and asked why he doesn't play in the development league. Jan said his parents didn't let him try out and the coach suggested to him that he try to pursue something beyond the rec league. I told Jan that was a nice compliment and said the trade-off for our family, at this point, isn't worth it to us. That's the reality of living on a farm with five children and my guys are aware and, for the most part, accepting of that. There is something to be said for just getting out and doing something for the joy of it rather than devoting a disproportionate amount of time and money and so on. I also don't want my children to be like the many who spend hour and hour in the car or on the field but have never explored where the mountains meet the sea. The natural world is a playground offering a wealth of activities that require nothing more than a curious mind. That's easy to forget when one is enslaved to scheduled activities and commitments.

 

My third son is very musical. I suppose if he were my only child he would have long ago received far more attention in that regard. As it is, he started piano lessons last fall when he was 7, as did his older brothers at that age. He has the gift of music in him, but I don't know that's "passionate" about it. If he were, he'd more often pursue it of his own volition.

 

What sacrifices are you willing to make to support your child, and what is too much? Would you pull your child out of a sport that they were excelling in if the strain on them or your family was too great?

 

I think my answers are fairly evident from what I said just above. We support our children, but we aren't willing to make any undue sacrifices.

 

Do you place more value on a child being 'well-rounded' or on them delving deep into one thing? Does this coincide with your educational values? (Since a strict classical education often values deep rather than wide...) Which do you think will serve them best in adulthood?

 

Both. My birth family consists of people, including myself, who know a little bit about a lot of things. Our interests are varied. We delve into things but never become passionate about any one thing. I used to think this was an advantage in life ~ a "renaissance man" kind of approach to life. I've since come to feel that it has the potential to be very limiting. I've talked about this with my mother because she feels sick about this and I understand her concerns. I want to avoid this in my own boys, the dabbling, dispassionate, quitter syndrome. It's like a disease in my family. On the other hand, Hans is much more "narrow" than I. Which isn't to say he doesn't have interests beyond farming, but he is a specialist kind of person. That, I believe, is ultimately more advantageous in adulthood. So I want my boys to be well-rounded, yes, but it's very, very important to me that as they approach an age to study at college or learn a trade that they invest themselves in something practical, something that interests them, and apply some stick-to-it-iveness.

 

Do you think focusing (assuming a large time-commitment) on one thing robs children of their childhood?

 

I think it can, yes. But so can being enamoured of technology and spending one's childhood in front of screens.

 

And (last question, I promise) do you require certain activities of your children even if they show no promising talent or interest?

 

I require piano lessons for at least a few years as I consider musical instruction an integral part of a good education.

 

Thanks for these thought-provoking questions, Heidi. I've truly enjoyed this conversation!

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So, my questions:

 

Do you regret lack of opportunity as a child? Was there one thing that you wish you had been given the support to pursue?

Yes, my mother's problems allowed us few opportunities. It's kinda sad how little I had done at 19. I so wanted to have any kind of guidance into an interest (of any kind) but it never happened. I didn't want to be the best at something, just DO something, lol. My sisters were a little luckier in this respect, as they did a few things through the school system.

 

Were you immersed in a sport or other talent (music, art, whatever) as a child? Was it a healthy thing for you? For your family? Any regrets?
Nope, see above

 

Do you have a child (or children) with specific talents or passions and what are you doing to encourage those?
Yes. My oldest is very good at martial arts, specifically jujitsu (he took down the high school state wrestling champion and his instructor thinks he should study in Brazil or some such, hehe). We sacrificed a lot for him to have instruction and unfortunately he hasn't trained for the last year for a number of reasons. My middle is a state/sectional level AAA cut swimmer (but so are a lot of others;)) although if we did not get scholarship she would not be able to swim and she would NOT be bearable if she couldn't swim. She eats, sleeps and breathes water, lol. I think her performance will ratchet up a notch while in this age group. She is also very good at piano and a great artist. My youngest hasn't quite found her thing yet.

 

What sacrifices are you willing to make to support your child, and what is too much? Would you pull your child out of a sport that they were excelling in if the strain on them or your family was too great?
Yes, definitely.
Do you place more value on a child being 'well-rounded' or on them delving deep into one thing? Does this coincide with your educational values? (Since a strict classical education often values deep rather than wide...) Which do you think will serve them best in adulthood?
I think about this alot and strive for a balance. I'm not really sure, but so far my ds at least seems ok!

 

Do you think focusing (assuming a large time-commitment) on one thing robs children of their childhood?
It could, but so far we have not found that this is a problem for us.

 

And (last question, I promise) do you require certain activities of your children even if they show no promising talent or interest?
Yes, my youngest swims although she doesn't love it, same for piano and my oldest certainly did plenty of activities he did not love but now admits were very helpful to him (and even enjoyable!).

 

I've enjoyed reading the responses.

georgia

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