Thursday, July 16, 2009

Stepping up on my soapbox

In case you can't read the image, this is what the back of the cereal box tells children:
18 things to do before you reach 18
* Ride the worlds biggest rollercoaster
* Bungee Jump
* Score a winning goal
* Win a Trophy
* Learn an instrument
* Go backstage at a gig
* Meet your idol
* Play a part in your favorite TV show
* Meet someone with your own name
* Make a discovery
* Get away with a perfect practical joke
* Own a pointless collection
* Invent a word that makes it into the dictionary
* Conquer your biggest fear
* Raise money for charity
* Pass your driving test the 1st time
* Take a coast to coast road trip
* Reach 18 years of age

Today's culture teaches kids that the quality of life is directly related to the number of experiences that you have. The more you experience, the better life you must have. I think that is bull-puckey. While this cereal box is a fairly eggregious example, there are many others. Sweetness comes home with new experience opportunities in her backpack almost every other day at school. Cheerleading, Orgami, horseback riding, japanese lessons, running club, soccer, softball, art classes, drama, jump roping, skiing, and the list goes on and on. Of course, all these things are are told to "ask their parents if they can partake in these great opportunities". So Sweetness believes that all these great opportunities exist and the only thing standing in her way for a great life is her mom's permission.

I find it annoying that I constantly have to tell Sweetness why she can't do something. I see no sign of her appreciating my message that life is about
being the best person you can be, and that has more to do with making choices to put others first than it does with reaching your personal best in activities. (Yes, I know she is only 7.) Seriously, what kind of happiness does it bring to have goals like "I want to score the winning goal"? That sounds like pressure to have an outcome that you can't really control. And how are kids suppose to excel at anything if they are constantly trying to experience all the other sports and activities to see which one they like best? And what about the financial unreasonable-ness (there's my new word for the dictionary) of that list? What will it cost for a child to travel to the world's biggest roller coaster or go bungee jumping or take a coast-to-coast road trip?

I will go on trying to provide fun opportunities for my family and trying to teach them that life is more about enjoying and making the most of every day, not about what you experience and accomplish. That's my soapbox for today.

1 comment:

  1. You are so right! I find so many families these days have filled their lives with so many activities that everyone is miserable. At times Grant takes a class or participates in a sport, but not all the time. He is always happiest when he just gets to play with other kids not having "exciting" experiences with them.


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