I still remember sitting on a quad once with the girls and someone making a comment about skiing with them when they were so young. I re-used a line that I always found funny, “Yeah I had to create people that like skiing with me.” Sharing your passions for life is more than just trying to get your kids to do what you do, it’s about showing them that there are myriad options for having passion, you just have to find one that fits.
Somewhere around age 6, first or second grade, kids start enjoying something for the experience itself, and not so much about going just because we make them. I think it has to do with telling their friends about an experience in school. Regardless, as a parent, you are the primary arbiter of new experiences. I always thought it was best to expose them to as much as possible and see what sticks. I have done my best not to push one thing or another and we dropped something when it was not enjoyable anymore. You can’t put your passion on them, as much as you may hope that they will love it too (see “Skiing”). But finding things to share, makes child-rearing more of an exercise in building a life together and less of a life as a chauffeur.
We tried a number of things, each one beneficial in its own way…
- Dance. Did not go well, Haley hated wearing tights
- Rock Climbing. I bought a cute little 4-point harness. I bet they would still enjoy it.
- Soccer. Originally, Haley showed a lot more promise than Tay, but then one summer it all switched.
- Hiking. I don’t care what is going on, we still have the best conversations when on a trail.
- Skiing. Some of my best memories with the girls were skiing together. I started them both when they were 3.
- Baseball. I even helped asst coach a team, but yep, my kid (Tay) was one of a few doing cartwheels in the outfield.
- Gymnastics. It was fun to watch them both and I still believe it builds great balance.
- Swimming. We have always been in water, weather it was the lake house or the pool.
- Snorkeling. Always fun to explore the ocean. Tay and I both want to get certified to dive.
- Zip lines and ropes. Should definitely do this more.
- Watching movies. Movie nights have been a staple for years. I pride myself that the girls love both The Holy Grail and Maximum Overdrive
- Reading books. I watched Haley plow through a 600 page book in one weekend and be able to tell me the whole story. Crazy.
- House projects. Well I tried at least:)
- Horses. Taylor, not so much. Haley? Yeah well you know.
I’m sure there are other things we have tried. As I started thinking them through I figured I would write as many as I could remember. I think it’s a good representation of all the experiences we shared together and how various ones played out to affect who they became. We all know that Taylor is soccer. I remember years ago when she started explaining to me the beauty of the game and how she likes being part of all the pieces working together. I can’t imagine I need to say anything about Haley and horses. I see adults that are passionate about their chosen profession and wonder how young they knew it. With Haley, there is no doubt.
Shortly after the picture above was taken, I started wearing a helmet too. After all, sharing means that I share in the experience with them too. I can’t insist on wearing a helmet for safety’s sake and then not show that I am committed to safety too. The girls shared that concept with me, and I am better for it.