That’s the question. I am talking about extra-curricular classes here. Like, music; dance; karate; taekwondo; gymnastics; keyboard; violin; swimming; skating; tennis and the like.
We live in a big community where all these are available in abundance. The path from stepping down from our house to the park is filled with a class every twenty steps. Little ones from age three to teenage children inhabit the place; some with genuine interest; some others out of plain coercion from their parents.
I see a beautiful little piggy tailed child who goes for gymnastic classes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. On the rest of the days, it is taekwondo. She must not be beyond four years old. Earlier, I used to wonder why she is put through such a vigourous routine. After all, this age is meant for enjoyment. Or, so I thought. Until, one day, I got to know her mother who explained it was not the parent, but the child herself who wanted to go for these classes. She enjoys doing so. And, how wrong of me to have judged her parents in the first place.
Well.. all stories are not so rosy after all. I know of another pair of four year old twins who are into classes aplenty. Bollywood dance. Gymnastics. Skating. Keyboard. And so on. The children, of course, are least interested in any of these things and they actively show their disinterest by neither complying to the class schedules or the instructor’s instructions. But the parents believe otherwise. That their children might lose out to their competition if not for these classes. Sigh.
Looking at such varied types of parents and children only leaves me confused. I know and agree to the fact that each child is different and so is each parent. Yet, hoards of opinions and examples around you only leads to confusion. Should I or shouldn’t I?
There are conflicting opinions even within me. For one, I am not sure about my children’s concentration levels. I am sure their interest cannot be sustained in one particular activity for more than fifteen minutes at the max. I’ve seen them get bored of games/painting/stories if it stretches beyond that limit. So, how will they listen to an instructor doing the same activity for half or one hour at a stretch? Is it really worth the push that we give our children?
On the other hand, how else will they learn something new? Sure enough do I know that I am not competent to teach them skating or keyboard. This needs and can be done only through structured classes. If so many other similar aged children can get to go to these classes and enjoy themselves too, why am I doubting my off-springs?
While the mother in me continues to battle her wits out, a small sane part of the mind has asked her to procrastinate making the decision. Five is a good round number, it has decided. The children should be ready by five; which apparently is just a couple or more months away. Small or big, time has been bought. And, so the argument shall resume then. Until then, temporary peace shall prevail.
Indu is a dreamer by nature; a (former) chartered accountant by profession; and a writer by passion. Her life right now, revolves around her four year old twin boy and girl. The two naughty siblings love to play their pranks on her every day, making her both smile and wince at once. She loves to leave a trail of her life at her blog here.