Some people think I’m crazy for having Jordan as involved in activities as he is because of his age. He’ll be 6 in January and has already completed 4 sessions of ice skating lessons, 2 sessions of hockey school, Little Pens clinic for both dek and ice hockey, 2 seasons of dek hockey, and an intro to baseball clinic.
Yes, that is a lot for a little guy. But it has been a rewarding experience for him in so may ways, and most importantly, he enjoys it. He is learning invaluable life lessons at an early age that he is going to carry with him through life.
The biggest lesson my son is learning is respecting authority. He listens very attentively to his coaches. In fact, he had exposure to coaches and skating instructors before he did teachers at school. And you know what? His preschool teachers raved about his behavior and how well he followed directions. He started kindergarten last week and every day a paper comes home that says “Green, Yellow Red.” Green has been circled every day, meaning he’s never had to be asked more than once to do something.
I’ve played sports with and witnessed children who do not respect their coaches and teachers. Jordan started this process early and I’ve spoken with him at length about the importance of respecting his coaches and teachers and listening and paying attention. I watch him while he is on the ice and on the dek. He doesn’t speak out of turn or cause disruptions. He looks at the coach and replicates what he is seeing. There of course has been an occassional incident, but nothing major and I’m proud of how well he behaves.
He is also learning about what it means to be on a team. We’ve had many discussions about the importance of teams, helping the other players, cooperating, and how it takes the effort of the entire team to win. I want him to understand that it’s about the team, not just him. We all grew up with cocky kids who thought they were God’s gift to their team and that the team would fail without them. Honestly, most of those kids felt that way because their parents told them so. I don’t play that game. My parents didn’t play that game. They knew they had talented kids, but they never treated us in a way that it would go to our heads whether it was sports, academics, or something else.
Jordan is also acquiring important social skills. He’s making friends and playing with other kids outside of the classroom. He used to be pretty shy around the other kids, but the more he went, the more he opened up and now in any social situation, he has no problem talking to other children that he doesn’t know- be it at a birthday party, the park, or a family function.
He comes home from school now talking about friends he’s made and asks if I can get the phone numbers of kids at hockey so that he can play with them on weekends. It didn’t happen overnight, but the more he went, the more comfortable he became and he came out of his shell on his own. I don’t want him to hold himself back from the things he loves. There is no reason for him to be in his own way because he doesn’t want to talk to other kids. He also communicates exceptionally well for a child his age. Other adults tell me that frequently.
Is my son a little young to have as much experience as he has in activities? I don’t see it that way.
He’ll be starting golf lessons after school in two weeks with other kids his age. This should be fun for him. He’s at a new school and will be playing with kids from his school. Maybe he’ll make new friends to play with at recess, in addition to trying something new.
That’s the greatest part of all of his involvement in activities: he isn’t afraid to try new things because we started trying new things early. He wants to try basketball and soccer and play more baseball. When he is old enough, he wants to do Cub Scouts or Indian Guides (we have another year before he can do those).
As long as he is earning good grades and being a good citizen in the classroom, I will continue to put Jordan in activities. You can see the joy on his face when he is participating in an activity that he loves. If he is asking to go and it isn’t a miserable experience for him (and for me), why deny him the opportunity to be active and engaged with other kids simply because he is young? It’s a flawed logic.
Don’t let age or personality type hold your kid back from trying new things. Kids easily adapt. Let them explore and find their passion. They’ll love you more for it.