People want their kids to have a broad array of activities from which to choose, but the unfortunate reality is that the broad array takes manpower to happen.
And there usually aren’t enough paid professionals to make it happen.
So be ready to step up and take a role, whether you have a clue about the activity or not.
It’s fairly straightforward if you spent your youth learning a sport or activity, like soccer through high school or camping with your family. But the kids might want to try something different and that’s fine. So don’t let lack of knowledge stop you; there are any number of ways to participate. The simple reality is that when your kids are little, they’ won’t see the tentativeness if you’re unfamiliar and will honestly appreciate the time spent with them. Since my first child came along, I’ve learned how to:
- measure the correct dimensions for a soccer field;
- line said soccer field;
- keep the basketball score book;
- run any number of basketball scoreboards;
- fill in as soccer and basketball coach;
- start a fire;
- tie six different kinds of knots;
- cook a foil dinner on an open fire;
- build a kayak (okay, it’s a work in progress);
- managed a Brownie Troop cookie program (my wife, the "cookie mom" gave birth the week before product delivery).
It works like this. Each activity or organization is akin to a raft in time’s river. As the raft travels, it periodically puts to shore with the parents of older children exiting and being replaced by the parents of younger ones. And the traditions and lessons are passed along over time, improved or changed as needed. But if there are no new members, then the raft fails.
The benefits are immeasurable. You can spend time with the kids to create a wealth of memories and experiences that can be shared in the future. The prospect exists that the activity will continue and develop into a shared interest to carry over into the teen years and beyond. And those are the years when you’re going to need it.