It is so easy to fall into a routine that functions on autopilot. I catch myself doing it all the time. I default into the habit and my brain turns off. Now, good habits are golden and something we want to encourage for our kids as well as ourselves, but functioning solely through habit can mean that we look up several years down the road and our life is not where we want it to be. I believe this is particularly true with the extracurricular activities that our kids pursue. We finally find “the thing” that makes their eyes light up and we pursue it relentlessly. However, we sometimes don’t pursue it thoughtfully. We do the next thing, the next game, the next lesson and never vary from the routine. By doing this, our kids can become very good at what they do. But their life can also become one-dimensional.
A wise person once said, “A rut is a grave with both ends knocked out.” It is true that ruts, by their very nature, keep our kids from learning new things about themselves, from growing through unexpected challenges, or from expanding their possibilities. It is, in essence, a kind of death. The rut begins to define our child. Our athlete may be a superstar on the field, but that is the only thing they do. Our musician masters new music. Our STEM kid builds yet another robot.
Take some time this summer to look carefully at the things that occupy your children’s lives. Are they stuck? Are they losing the opportunity to develop through different experiences within the activity they love? Becoming aware of the problem is most of the battle. Once that happens, your family can brainstorm new avenues for growth and new opportunities for joy.
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