The older boys have been complaining about our insistence that they go to Scouts every week, and also that we expect them to participate in Tae Kwon Do. When I ask what’s so terrible about either of these activities, there’s not much of an answer. The Mercenary told me about 6 times today: “All we do at Scouts is play a game, do bookwork, and then go home.” Apparently this is a travesty.
Tae Kwon Do is a sport that the whole family can enjoy together which is why we started it. We’ve told the boys that they need to be in some kind of athletic activity. If they want to do a seasonal sport, no problem. They can drop the TKD and pick it back up after the season. The point is to be active in SOMEthing.
There’s plenty of complaining on Scout or TKD days, then they actually go and come home smiling. Interestingly, they rarely talk to Hubby about any of this. I’m the one who gets sucked into the complaining on a weekly basis. (For the record, the younger boys also complain-vociferously-anytime there’s an activity scheduled for them.)
The whole thing puzzles me. What is so horrible about being in a sport or in Scouts? They seem to be objecting to having to leave the house more than anything else.
We’ve worked hard at making our home a sanctuary for the family; perhaps we’ve created monsters as well. It’s great that they love to be here…but they’re here all day every day with the homeschooling, so Hubby and I agree that it’s very important for them to have activities outside the house.
If I understand the Scout objection, one thing they dislike is having to write down what they’re learning in their record books. Both of the older boys have resisted writing all their lives and regard any writing requirement with disdain. I keep telling them that like many worthwhile pursuits, the rewards often come a little later, after they’ve put in some time and effort.
And that’s what it really comes down to, in my opinion: effort. For some reason, the very idea that an activity requires them to put forth effort and dedication is repugnant. Is this just part of the age? Are all boys who are eleven/nearly twelve so unwilling to invest themselves in something? Is this part of our culture now? I don’t remember ever being allowed to complain about an activity growing up. If I’d signed up, I was expected to follow through with my commitments.
I know it’s my job to push them, and I will continue doing it, but I have difficulty knowing exactly how much to push some days. It doesn’t feel good to be treated like an oppressor so often.
At the same time, I just can’t bring myself to let them drop out of everything and become slugs.
So here we sit, staring at each other across this…chasm. Workaholic vs. Slug Wannabees.
I keep telling them, “Some day you’ll thank me.” I really believe that; I just don’t like thinking about how far off that someday may be.
Earnest Parenting: help for parents who value excellence.