Over the years, my three kids have taken all sorts of lessons and classes: art, music, Taekwondo, rowing, gymnastics, dancing—to name a few. And over the years I’ve also noticed a disturbing trend, mostly with the sports instructors—they encourage me to take these lessons with my children.
I know they’re just trying to drum up business. And I know that I’ve sat through so many Taekwondo classes that if I had chosen to join in, I would probably be a black belt by now like my boys. But when my son’s rowing instructor told me I should learn to row as well, it all of a sudden conjured up what I thought was a hilarious and ridiculous picture: the mom who took every lesson with each of her kids.
Show me a fifteen-year-old boy who just wouldn’t love to have his mom waving at him from the other side of the regatta, “Hi Honey!! Remember: tuck your elbows!” And I would smile and then possibly demonstrate how his elbows should be tucked. What about Taekwondo? Ready to spar with mom? No kicks to the head. You’ll mess her hair. And then also be responsible for paying your own way through college. Dance lessons with my daughter would’ve been great, especially during the recitals, when I could’ve been the tallest dancing dandelion in the show. During art lessons, I could make boo-boo face when one of my children can’t figure out exactly what it is that I’ve just drawn. Oh, the possibilities for public humiliation are endless!
The instructors mean well. It’s a tough economy and I’m certain they could use every student they can get their hands on. Moms (Dads too!) are already at the lessons; we would appear to be a soft target. While the martial arts have always been on my to-do list, I’m sorry, I just can’t do that to my kids. And yes, I do see other parents in some classes with their children. Good for them. (In fact, when it comes to Taekwondo, I’m actually a little jealous.) But I believe kids need to have their own activities and interests, classes without the added pressure of a parent helicoptering around. Although, if my son's drum teacher were to ever suggest lessons, I might go back on my word. “Honey? Can I be in the band?”