When I was young, I was placed in several activities and joined more as I grew up. My parents put me in soccer and dance and got me piano lessons. In school I joined the band and sports teams. I spent countless hours in all of those activities, but I am no longer doing any of it.
While it can be hard to hold back from giving your kids “experiences,” my husband and I have chosen not to put our kids in outside activities. I want our family home together, so I’m not looking for opportunities to send everyone off in their own direction. I do think there is a place for outside activities, but I think it should come about organically, with the child finding what they are passionate about and then letting them pursue it.
I currently have one child who has an outside activity. I’ll tell you how God arranged that amazing experience.
My oldest is my daughter and my artist. We knew she was good at art an a young age. When she was about 8, her aunt bought her a beginner’s drawing book. It was a real art book for adults. I felt bad because she could do it from the first day. She just needed to be shown what to do. I didn’t know what to do for her to help her progress. I felt bad that I wasn’t providing for her to learn more.
When she was 11, my husband stopped to talk to a man on the street because he looked like he was from Uzbekistan. It came up that the man was an artist. My husband told him that our daughter liked to draw and he invited her to come to his Saturday art class. Since we lived in a refugee neighborhood and my husband was able to speak Russian with him, he let her come for free.
He invited her to come back for another lesson and spoke to my husband about her coming as often as possible. My husband started taking her four days a week. She was taught by the artist one-on-one at the art store where he worked, and he let her help with his commissioned art. He introduced her to painting, calligraphy and other art forms. Since she was helping him with his work, it was all free, about 8 hours a week of private instruction.
Now she’s 12 and her teacher gives her commissions to complete on her own at home and splits the money with her. In about a year’s time she went from that beginner’s drawing book to being professional. It has helped me relax about her brothers behind her. They have their own talents. Instead of spending lots of money and effort trying to provide what I think they need, we’re waiting to see how the Lord leads. We’re confident “The King Will Make a Way.” 🙂