I am waiting for our two youngest children, who are in a weekly two-hour rehearsal for the Berks Youth Chorus, which I sometimes describe as Berks County's answer to the Vienna Boy's Choir. We have been doing this for about 15 years, since our oldest son began his formal musical training here in the fourth grade. Over the years there have been a number of great opportunities, including singing with Elisabeth von Trapp, a variety of orchestras, an opera, and more recently singing with the Canadian Brass in a Christmas Event.
All good natured grumbling aside, as parents we are generally pretty willing to put out a lot of time and energy to give our kids opportunities to experience things. Things we believe will teach them discipline and a variety of skills, help them be better people, and enrich those they touch throughout life. These things usually involve athletic disciplines, individual or team sports, or the creative arts, such as music, art, dance, and theater.
I know there are always exceptions, such as the parent who is vicariously redeeming something that they wanted to accomplish years ago, but didn't. Most times those situations put undue pressure on the kids to perform beyond their ability or be something they are not naturally inclined to be. I find this misdirected focus to be a sad waste of energy. And, unfortunately, it can cause lifelong scars and ruin many great opportunities.
However, if we are observant and sensitive with the little ones entrusted to our care, we will have an understanding of their natural, God-given inclinations and invest ourselves in helping them develop and mature skills in those areas. One may have amazing hand/eye coordination as an artist. Another may have amazing hand/eye coordination to hit a little white ball with a bat. Yet another may have skills to thrill us with dance or music. Or we might benefit from keen insights and understanding of a contemplative type. In each case we will find ourselves helping and encouraging them to be all they can be.
While our motivation may be only for good, sometimes we might also find ourselves going to ridiculous lengths and expense to facilitate these opportunities. It can be a slippery slope and all too easy to operate at a stress-inducing pace with no margin.
As much as we are willing, let us also be careful to find a healthy balance.