March 7, 2012The Only Activity That Made a Difference to Me
Hi Dr. Laura,
Posted by Staff at 2:00 PM
I participated in a variety of after school activities - ballet, karate, softball, theater, basketball, volleyball, track, and then finally in high school I did swim.
I'm 26 now, and I think I have fairly good and accurate memory of my childhood.
I would say all those activities I just mentioned did not make me a better person. The activities I did when I was younger, I remember feeling scared, helpless, shy, and unsure. I think that's because my parent's just dropped me off and didn't stick around. In high school, I was expected to do a sport by my family, and I got myself to swim practice every day after school and 2 times a week at 5am before school started. I got less sleep, my grades suffered, I had coaches who were only concerned with the best swimmers (which I was not one of...). Overall, I would say the activities
didn't do anything for me. I would have rather spent that time with my parents (who were always just too busy). I can count on one hand the number of swim meets they went to. It was just a draining experience.
The ONLY activity I did after school that I enjoyed and I feel like made me a better person was when my grandmother gave me piano lessons once a week for a couple hours. We started when I was about 7 and I will always cherish those times with her. I remember how proud she was of me when I learned a song. I remember feeling so warm and fulfilled every time we were together doing piano lessons. I think it's because I had someone who loved me and wanted to just spend time with me. All of those other activities - the coaches or instructors or whoever else - it's just their job. They don't want to actually spend meaningful time with us. But when a family member is really involved in teaching their kid or grandkid something - that's what matters. That's what I remember and piano is still one of my passions because MY grandmother taught me.
I think everyone has some kind of talent. A lot of my talents I taught myself after I graduated high school. I learned how to play tennis, and I learned how to cook and I learned to be a great cake decorator. I think the best thing I can do is to teach my own kids some of the talents I have. I don't care if my kids don't grow up to be the best soccer player. I care more they had memories with me teaching them and having fun with them. That is more fulfilling than being good at everything and being "well-rounded" before you turn 18.