How To Raise a Well-Rounded Child (Or Not)

I’ll be the first to admit; my children are not well-rounded individuals.

My daughter is a reading maniac and can rock your socks with the amount of author knowledge she knows. My middle son gives me a run for my money when it comes to a game of chess and recently my 2 year old drew a stick person that has catapulted him into the ranks of Picasso.

This is usually how you will find my daughter

This is usually how you will find my daughter

Why can they do these things?

I can only attribute it to the fact that these are the things that I like to do. These are the things they see me do.

When it comes to sports though; that’s a whole other story.

I spent a lot of time in my youth at hospitals after my forays with sledding, tree climbing, tennis, softball and general lack of grace.

Therefore, as I entered adulthood I pretty much shied away from anything physical. My husband is really no different. He spent his short-lived baseball career as a child picking grass in the outfield. I think my children were kind of doomed from the get-go with the make-up of our DNA.

This has not stopped us from signing our children up for sporting activities. I do want them to be well-rounded. I want them to try new things. I want them to understand about sportsmanship, the importance of exercise, and the difference between a basketball and tennis ball.

Our adventures into this arena have been comical at best. It’s clear we do not have the next athletic phenom on our hands after sightings of my son scoring goals for the other team in soccer, my daughter dancing like Elaine from Seinfeld or just general wincing from all of them when a ball gets thrown their way.

Part of this is due to their young age and I’m sure their hereditary genes but a large part of it falls on me. They do not see me do anything remotely athletic.

This summer I am trying to change that. We are utilizing our pool pass to the fullest. I dusted off my old baseball glove and I have been giving lessons on jump roping without trying to injure myself in the process.

It pains me to do these things both figuratively and literally because in my head I am thinking about all the great art projects I want to do and all of the wonderful books I want to read with them as I am sweating my hiney off.

Will it pay off in the end? I don’t know but we’ll give it a shot this summer.

I do know that after this summer I am going to sit down with the 2 year old and work on his artistic skills more. A talent like his can not be wasted! Maybe Tiger Woods could make a hole-in-one in golf at the age of 3 but he could draw a stick man like this?

This is my 2 year old's picture. I drew the guy on the right and asked him if he could do that. This was his first try!

This is my 2 year old’s picture. I drew the guy on the right and asked him if he could do that. This was his first try!

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46 responses

  1. It’s good that you are trying not to pass the lack of sports onto your kids! I worked very hard on that with Mr. T, but it was tomatoes. I can’t stand the suckers – they are nasty and gross and slimy and disgusting. But, I never told him that! And for years we grew a little cherry tomato plant on the patio of our apartment and then our house and he’d go out and pick and eat them all the time! He loves them, so I must have done something right!

    • That’s awesome! I hid my fear of spiders from my kids all these years and not one of them is afraid of them. It’s great because I have 3 kids who do not have a problem stepping on or squishing them with a tissue when I see one in the house! It’s amazing the things we suck up when we become parents!

  2. I could not catch a ball to save my life, and have always danced like Elaine. But would you believe that as a 30-something I signed up for karate? I took it for several years till I started having kids and got too busy for it. To me it’s the non-athlete’s sport, because what you lack in athletic ability, you can make up for in hard work. Around the time that I noticed how my son would wimper if a ball was tossed too close to his face, I signed him up for karate.

    BTW, that is an amazing stick figure for a 2-year old! He’s got your genes for sure.

    • I keep thinking about karate. I think it would be great for my son. My daughter’s best friend is in it and Iris has got to go with her a few times and she recently went there for a birthday party. So Iris is the one who has wanted to sign up for it for the past year and just brought it up again the other day. I would need to enroll both of the older kids to be fair and I just don’t know if we can swing it financially. Maybe I’ll look into what our community building offers. Their classes are usually much more reasonable. If it’s cheap enough maybe I should sign up too!!

  3. Wow – nice drawing! My husband’s aunt is a teacher, and she said to me that each child is gifted in his / her own way (drawing, reading, physical movement, math, etc). Her words have really stayed with me.

    My daughter was in a 5 week gymnastics class, where they basically ran around, climbed, rolled, etc. She had a blast! So I guess there’s always good old playing at the park, or going for walks / bike rides / jogs. Just have fun!!

  4. Haha! We have so much in common. My mom always called me “The Walking Disaster Waiting To Happen.” I’m so accident prone! I spent less than two months in gymnastics before landing on my head and winning an ambulance ride to the ER. Luckily, my husband comes from a very athletic family, so our kids at least have a fighting chance at inheriting some coordination and grace. Lol

    • haha! Oh yes, we definitely do sound like one in the same! At least you tried gymnastics. My mom signed me up for it when I was a kid and when I got a gander of the goings on in that place, I backed out. Even as a small child I could smell an accident a mile away I guess! My mom was kind of mad that I wouldn’t go to gymnastics but I’m sure I saved her taking care of me in a body cast or something!

  5. Hi Melissa, I hope you get this comment, the last one didn’t go through, what is it with you and me and comments ha!ha! 🙂
    anyhow, wanted to let you that I am very impressed with your little one drawing skills, very, very impressed; he takes this skill from both his parents (artistic) 🙂 and good that you take time to introduce your kids to different activities : you are a great mommy! 🙂

    • Thanks Ingrid! Normally Cesar just scribbles so when I drew that stick figure the other day and asked him if he could do that and he did it right away I was pretty blown away. I know my other kids never did that at that age!

  6. If I had my way, my child will be a reclusive bookworm as well like her mama. Thankfully, my husband is making sure she turns out more “normal”. hahaha…

    I enjoyed reading your post!

    • Thank you! It definitely would make things easier for me if we just sat around drawing and reading all day! I figure we will take advantage of this warm weather for a bit and then as soon as it gets a bit cooler we will be right back in the house doing our less physical activities!

  7. The ball catching will get better … with or without your help … but the skills and interests they each have will carry them through life …. Not many kids grow up to be forever ball players, but the joy of reading, drawing and playing Chess will be life long things they do and maybe pick up an activity like golf, archery, horse shoes, or for sure our family heritage of playing Croquet for their athletic ability !! LOL

  8. Yes, great stick figure for two, reading is awsome and as far as being well rounded, we are the same, I enter my son into everything…ah metza metza some not so well, others fairly well. Great points you brought into the post Melissa ! 🙂

  9. In reality when we are older we don’t run around doing 50,000 things so why should our children? Let them find their niche and keep at it. You’re doing a great job and I am enjoying reading about it!! God Bless, Laurie.

    • Thank you Beth for the words of wisdom! This seems to be the general consensus here that I do not need to go to great lengths! Now I won’t feel so bad when I continue to sneak in a few art projects!

  10. I will admit when I saw this title I thought you were going to tell us how to raise fat kids! We have been trying so many new things with the grandkids this summer and it has been fun. I taught Little Dude how to make coffee instead of just drinking it and I am showing Alexis how to chop with a knife. She was scared she was going to get in trouble with her mother for using it. I told her I was starting fires in the wood stove when I was her age and she felt better. Have fun and carry on!

  11. lexiesnana …. I loved your reply ! Melissa is always giving me the ( BERRIES ) about giving Cesar coffee …. Just can’t wait to see her reaction when I teach him how to make it !! And she will have to know I got the idea from you !! LOL !!

  12. I know what you mean about the sports thing Melissa. I also had my girls try out different sports activities. It didn’t work out. Charlotte is soooo not competitive. And Emma, the one summer we enrolled her in soccer turned out like this: While her team is chasing the ball, Emma is at the other end of the field doing the yoga Tree Pose… my mother-in-law called her over and told her she wanted to see her score. Emma’s reply: Why? My team’s gonna score for me! And that was the end of that! They both love swimming though. Hope you have better luck! Those stick figures are too cute!

  13. Ahhhh, how I have missed your wonderful writing and such funny, insightful, and loving posts! Your kiddies make my heart grow three sizes, and you never fail to make me laugh! I shall keep my fingers crosses for no trips to the doc this summer – for any of you!

  14. My daughter once spent a whole softball season not swinging the bat, hoping to get walked. It was painful. She also used to hold hands during soccer games because she was playing with friends and friends hold hands! There is hope though. She played basketball last year and was excited when she fouled out of a game because she was finally getting into it!

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