Favorite childhood activities that span a plethora of events from sports to music to fly fishing linger in our memories as adults. Many of these joys are passed on to our children and embraced with the same passion. Then there are those disappointing moments when parents realize their children don’t have the same passion. We all know that not every child is genetically hot-wired with the same athleticism, musical ability and backpacking skills as their parents. Yet, parents persist in getting junior involved in those things that made their childhood complete.
Insisting Johnny play baseball or Sally take ballet never brings about the results or the same joy as letting them find their own passion. That statement causes some eyes to flash dollar signs. You don’t have to take out a second mortgage while your children discover what they are passionate about. Exposing them to things that interest them can be done economically, if not free.
The Fox Valley Park District offers classes in martial arts, dance, art, drama and many other activities that are conducted for a few weeks for a nominal fee. If the six week basketball season or the gymnastic class turns out to be less than fun, your child can explore other options.
Interest may wax and wane as time goes by. Piano may give way to soccer that gives way to guitar. It doesn’t mean your child lacks focus, but rather he is gaining a wide range of experiences that will shape his life. A three-year old who loves to dance every time there is music may not find his career path leading to the Joffery School of Dance. Neither do horseback riding lessons lead to Olympic gold. Greatness should never be the goal—rather, finding an identity in their formative years that builds a positive self-image.
That image may not be the same one you had as a child. Scouting may capture your son’s interest more than basketball or drama may be more exciting to your daughter than band. Be willing to surrender living vicariously through your child, and embrace what interests him or her.
Patience and encouragement are key
Be patient while your child discovers what he wants to pursue. Allow him to put something down and pick up something new. But be sure to make it clear he has to finish what he starts. If a class is six weeks or the season lasts three months he is committed to that time frame. At the end of the commitment, together you can determine what’s next. Praise your child for staying the course. Finishing projects and being faithful to commitments are essential skills necessary for success in adulthood.
Limit your financial investment
Don’t go crazy buying equipment and accessories until you see their commitment. Renting is often an option for musical instruments. Borrow equipment or buy the minimum necessary to provide the best possible experience. When the passion takes hold, discuss together what the next step is. It is a good thing to have children earn some of the money for fees and equipment. They are more likely to continue when things get tough when they have a personal investment.
Socialization can trump perfection
Have you ever pursue something even though you were not necessarily good at it? So will your child. He may try out for the basketball team to be with his friends, yet, never get an opportunity to play. If your child is fine with that, then don’t discourage him. Sometimes the social interaction is worth more than being the star player. But if he complains, it probably won’t be too hard to redirect his interest in another direction.
Cheer them on
Above all else, be their cheerleaders. Get involved in some way. Be a willing volunteer parent, and try not to miss events. Take lots of pictures. Brag to their grandparents.
Where to go with your child to explore possibilities in and around Aurora.
Here are a few suggestions:
Teens can join the Theater Guild that meets at the Prisco Center, or younger thespians can sign up for a few classes through the Fox Valley Park District.
The Vaughn center offers instructors for every level of interest. Click this page to choose an instructor.
Check out the Fox Valley Park District site for all their class offerings.
Below are some private schools
Moves Dance offers classes in a variety of dance styles. For twenty years Moves Dance has offered classes for students age three to adult.
Develop soccer skills at Just for Kicks. Open to all ages and skill levels. If Soccer is your child’s passion consider joining a traveling soccer team and hone your skills to a professional level at Kickers Soccer Club.
Fox Valley Park District offers beginners basketball fun, but if basketball is their passion Aurora Elite may be the place for them.
Whether you explore martial arts in a short park district class or want to join a school, Mike Neil Traditional Martial Arts encourages family participation. Students range in age from 5 to adults.
Huntoon Stables has been providing riding lessons and quality horse training in the Fox Valley area since 1932.
Hix Bros Music offers music lessons for all ages. Instruments are available for rent.Click here to check out the website.
Where have you found activities to engage your children and help them find their passion?
Please subscribe to this link to receive the latest parent tips and family-friendly events using the subscription button on the right.