Last week our oldest daughter, Josephine, started First Grade. Jo is always eager to try something new. This summer it was learning to swim and riding her two-wheeler-no-training-wheels-bike.
And now it's tennis. After looking through the Fall Parks & Rec. catalog, I gave her options: Ballet, Basketball, Swimming or Tennis. I told her she could pick one activity. She chose tennis.
Tonight was the first lesson. Jo made sure she had on the right shoes, a pair of comfy shorts and a t-shirt. She packed her raquet and we rode our bikes the quarter-mile to the tennis courts. I introduced her to the instructor and told her, "Have fun."
Then I took our younger two daughters to the playground down the road. We came back a few minutes early to see the class in action. They were playing a dodging game with extra large, soft tennis balls. Jo was smiling.
I know that extra-curricular activities, like tennis, are enriching. They help build self-confidence and shape a well-rounded child. While Jo is young and eager to try new things its tempting to sign her up for art class, music class, dance class, soccer. But then reality sets in and I think about the cost and time commitment.
Its good to foster our children's gifts and talents, but within reason. Extra-curricular activities are, in fact, extra. Time for family and school come first. That's why we've decided on doing just one extra activity at a time. Oh, and there's one more rule: Have Fun!