As parents we don’t have a how to raise our kids manual, so we learn as we go. I always want the best for my kids. I want my kids to be well rounded in school and extracurricular activities. When I was younger my parents always had me in activities. I played piano, took voice, dance, and acting lessons. I was a cheerleader. I played basketball, softball, and soccer. I was also involved in student council. I did a lot. I was fortunate that I could try different activities to find out what I was good at and liked. I eventually got a full scholarship to college for being president of the study body at my high school. What I am getting at is, my parents gave me the opportunities to get out there and get involved in things. They helped me to pursue things when I was a kid that I may not have done on my own. (Thanks mom and dad!)
I look back at how my parents raised me and am trying to do that with my kids. I see how important it is that we parents are involved in our children’s lives. We need to know what is going on at school. We need to know who are kids’ friends are. We need to know everything that goes on with our children. When we don’t know what they are up to, they end up in trouble. I think being involved in a lot of different activities in school and out of school, kept me and my siblings out of trouble. I think trying different activities and finding the right activity to pursue gave us the confidence and self-esteem that a lot of kids today are lacking. It’s a fact that kids without confidence and self-esteem turn to drugs and alcohol. Sociologists at Florida State University did a study and found that low self-esteem at age 11predicts drug dependency at age 20. Click here to read the study.I look at this year’s PTA Reflections program in my children’s school. It is a program that has been going on for the past 40 years and is designed to help enhance the arts program in schools. It is a contest open to all schools in Florida with PTA’s in good standing. This year our school had six entries, and we are a school with over three hundred students. Two of the entries were my kids. Why weren’t there more entries? I don’t know. What I do know is that, my older daughter who is in second grade, has participated in this program the past three years. In kindergarten, she got honorable mention in photography, In first grade she won first place for photography and this year won first place for a drawing she did. Her self-esteem and confidence in her art is flourishing because of programs like this. Personally, I think she’s a great artist, but when she gets medal and trophies it really helps give her a boost that will not only help her in art but in life. My younger daughter that just started kindergarten participated this year in the contest. She didn’t win, placing fourth in her age division. She got a certificate and medal and was happy.
My point is, I am encouraging my kids to try things. Sometimes they’ll succeed and sometimes they won’t, but if I don’t get them involved in things they’ll never have that opportunity to know what they can do.
The opportunities are out there. I find a lot of them by reading the paper, scanning the internet and by just reading papers that come home in my kids’ backpacks. It is up to us as parents, especially when our children are young, to be the ones to get our kids involved in school and in extracurricular activities outside of school.
I started writing these articles to help parents find free or cheap things to do with their children, to help motivate them and boost their self esteem. Maybe it’s my small contribution to the kids’ manual.