Part of the discussions that David and I have been having lately about the coming Geek Baby is what things to introduce them to and how? Part of what we found from our own experience and our friends is that there seems to be two ways that these things tend to happen. One is that the parent forces the child to participate in an activity with the thought that it will better them as a person. The other is that the parent will encourage and foster them to explore options and then continue to encourage them when they seem to be engaged in a particular activity.
Both seem to have pros and cons, but the question is partly which direction would David and I want to take with our own child?
There is some thought that by forcing your kids when they are younger they will appreciate the skill later on, even if it is a chore at the beginning. I know many a kid when I was growing up who was forced to take piano lessons, play a sport, or other such activities. For some of them it did grow into a love of that activity and the ability to really utilize that skill later on. For others if they never had to do said activity another day, all the better.
Some of my issue with this method is I wonder how much we see something in the child to push them in a certain direction, or are we putting our own ideas on what is good for them (which is part of being a parent)? From my own experience I wonder if I would have been grateful for being pushed to learn piano because of how much I love music. Now it is never too late to learn, but it is something I sometimes question.
The other school of thought is more of a nebulous area. I look at this as trying to pinpoint where the child seems to have passion and try to support that passion. Part of trying to pinpoint where the child might have passion is introducing them to a variety of activities and thoughts.
One way of doing this is signing them up for camps and activities that takes them through a variety of areas. David has often talked about how is parents gave him lessons in a lot of different sports. He never took to any of them, but he got introduced to all the variety of sports.
A lot of stuff I got exposed to was because my parents took us places or had us help with things such as baking. I love cooking and baking, but some of that is what my mom did with us. I sometimes wonder: if I had been pushed in a direction if I would have found some skill or activity that I have an affinity for?
David and I are still considering all the things that we might want to introduce our child to and how we want to do it. Although I am pretty sure we are more the encouraged-support versus the forced-merriment, there is one thing that we definitely agree on: reading.
Both of us come from families of avid readers and are each avid readers ourselves. The one thing that we both know we want to encourage is reading. I truly believe in reading to a kid every night and helping them to discover the wonders of reading, but at the same time there is no guarantee that the efforts we put in will produce anything.
I guess it does not matter if they read all the time, but I would hope they would want to read. I am someone who loves movies and TV shows, but I think it would be worse if, for some reason, I could not read anymore. Books and reading can open so many doors, and being able to fall into the world of a book just brings out our imaginations. That is something I know I want for my child – let alone the statistics of what it means for someone to continue reading throughout their life. Books introduce us to moments and ideas that we might never see otherwise.