Raising a Well Rounded Kid

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

I just told my husband last night that this parenting thing is hard! I don't know if I'm doing it right half of the time and he said, "I'm know I'm not doing it right." So how do you know? I guess you have to wait until their adults, or teens, to know if it's really working. In between all the discipline, the playing, and the adventures, there's also the raising them to be well rounded. 

I'm an old school parent when it comes to activities. Find one or two that work and stick to them. You don't need five activities outside of school. If that were the case, I'm not sure a child would be any good at any of them. There would be no time to give each one the attention and discipline they need. But, how to you find the one or two they're actually good at? I'm also very picky about the activities he can participate in. I like the classic sports like baseball, basketball, golf, and tennis. Football is out of the question and neither my husband or I like soccer. So, the four listed above will be our test sports for now.

When McKinley turned one, he started swimming lessons. Swimming, in my opinion, is a life skill and a sport. There is always going to be some form of water around you and you HAVE to know how to swim. He's not always in love with swimming, but I keep telling him it's non-negotiable. He's not afraid of water, he just doesn't love putting that sweet face in the water. After witnessing Great Britain swimmer Adam Peaty break his own world record during the Rio Olympics, a gold medalist who was once afraid of the water, I'm even more convinced that McKinley will be a swimming master! I would personally love to raise a swim team athlete. Being a swimmer myself, a lifeguard who loves the water but never competed, I always feel at peace near water. I'm hoping the same will eventually ring true for my own child. Summer Olympics 2028, here we come!

Last summer McKinley was part of a Blast Ball team, one step below T-Ball, and played on his first T-Ball team this summer. He likes it, but I think he enjoys fielding (running after every ball in play) more than anything else. But, he's focused. He's always in his "ready position", as Joel calls it, when playing outfield and really thinks through the motions of stepping and throwing the ball to first base. Batting is a struggle from time to time, but we are working with a heavier aluminum bat and those little muscles are working as hard as they can. It frustrates him, but he doesn't give up. I've always said he have a hard worker on our hands and it shows in instances like this. Hard work pays off, right? Keep up the good work, bud! 

And then there's dancing. Our child loves to dance. He calls it "wild dancing" when have a dance party in the living room and he goes full out to the music. He requests "Cake by the Ocean", "Can't Stop the Feeling", "Satisfaction", and we provide 80s hits here and there. He tests out new moves, spins, falls to the floor, and simply enjoys moving. And because of that, I signed him up for Creative Movement at school last year. The teacher is a instructor at a local dance school, Miller Marley, and came to Brookridge Day School once a week to teach ballet, tap, and creative movement. And he liked it. So much so that he asked if he could continue to take dance. So this summer, in addition to T-Ball, he took Kindergarten Combo. It's a 45 minute class that consists of tap and ballet. He is one of two boys in a class of five and he likes it. And he's good at it. His teacher, Miss Missy, encouraged him all summer when he struggled with steps. Constantly re-iterated to him he was a good dancer and to not give up. And as a result, McKinley has decided he would like to continue taking class, so we've signed him for the fall. Am I worried? A little. At five, it's not much of an issue with friends. But when he's 12, and if he's still taking, it could be a teasing issue. A bridge I'm willing to help him cross if he's following his heart and passion. Like any "sporting" athlete, dance is a sport. And again, as a dancer myself, I've defended this unsupported theory for years. And if you don't believe me, google male dancers and look at their physique. Not a sport.....

Between swimming and dance, it sounds like I'm asking my child to follow in my own footsteps. And that's simply not the case. Again, swimming is life skill, and he doesn't have to become a lifeguard to fulfill his swimming grade card. He just has to learn to swim. As for dancing, it can only help with his athletics later on. Think about the NFL players who have taken a ballet class to help with coordination and flexibility. It only strengthens his abilities. Again, I've asked him if he wants to dance. I didn't sign him up without his consent. And when he's had enough, I'll be okay with that. But, he will have to have something team oriented in his life. I truly feel every child should be a part of a team environment. It teaches accountability, something I think a lot of kids these days don't have enough of, but that's a different post for a different time.

Come winter, I'm thinking of signing McKinley up for basketball, another sport he's expressed interest in. He plays "hoops" with Joel in my parents basement, on a plastic goal he got for Christmas several years ago, and makes baskets most of the time. Joel is going to chat with our neighbor, who has an adjustable goal in her driveway, to see if we can use hers for early practice. Based on that, we will determine if we pursue the basketball camp. After that, the skies the limit for this dude. Tennis camp, golf lessons, and swimming are on the docket for summer. And of course T-Ball. A well rounded kid can do it all, right?

What activities do you have planned for your kiddos? Do you have aspirations of glory or just to have some follow through? How much is too much in your opinion? Is there ever too much? I realize that McKinley is only five and there's so many other things he could be interested in or able to excel at, and I'm ready to help him pursue those dreams and goals. But he has to learn to swim. Life skill, my friend, life skill!


No Comments Yet, Leave Yours!

electric toothbrush