It’s taken me a considerable number of posts and probably quite timely as well to get to this point, and I want to share my thoughts about why I think it’s important to encourage our kids to immerse themselves in as many activities as possible.
First, I want to tell you a little about my interests. I firmly believe everyone needs to have at least one activity that they are interested in or passionate about, least of all because it keeps you healthy, but it's also good for your mental & emotional wellbeing. I touched on this in an article about why you need to relax more.
Let me take you back. Throughout my formative years, I always thought I’d be an olympian. I had a natural aspiration to do well in sports. I played football, table tennis, badminton, cricket, among other activities and I competed in many competitions, even made it to the regional level championships for track and field events and I was invited to join prestigious sporting clubs like Spartan Harriers.
"Life should be a journey of discovery and the more you’re open to trying things, the more you’ll come to discover about yourself"
Sadly my interest waned in my early teens because I thought prioritising my social image was way more interesting. In my late teens, it was dancing and performing arts. I wanted to be a professional dancer, drawing inspiration from talented artists I grew up with, like Michael Jackson who I got to see perform live in concert once. My wife and I were dating then and she actually fainted at the show, just like the people in his DVDs 😆 and we ended up abandoning half the concert so she could recover in the medical area. I’m not going to lie, I was livid. And of course who wasn't hypnotised by MC Hammer's harem pants and catchy hooks. I did say we’re going back!
Right now it’s cycling. I never fancied myself a lycra-clad, two wheeled warrior, ever, considering I grew up in a house that had lots of well tuned, modified cars on the driveway that my dad used to customise. For a short time, I even thought I’d be a racing driver too.
I was persuaded by a few friends in London to start cycling, compliments of the Boris cycle scheme. It’s been 7 years since and I haven’t looked back. I absolutely love it now, it’s a huge part of my life and it keeps me healthy. Pushing my distance threshold ever so often. I would still love to do an epic cross country ride one day. I’m absolutely obsessed with the amazon prime and netflix cycling documentaries, like Inspired To Ride the personal stories of people are uplifting. Some do it for charity, others do it as a soul searching journey. This is certainly on my to-do list.
My point is this, we should encourage our kids to be involved in many activities. Even while some of my experiences and sporting dreams were short-lived, I absolutely love throwing myself into them and I think about the enjoyment it brings me. Life should be a journey of discovery and the more you’re open to trying things, the more you’ll come to discover about yourself and I encourage my children to do the same. Both my boys are already involved in so much activities, swimming, drama, football, dancing, etc. and I love that they immerse themselves into these experiences. My eldest enjoys squash so much, he'd give most adults a run for their money.
As a parent, I’ll do whatever I can to support their interests. I am happy to be their personal chauffeur, taking them to whatever sport or activity they want to be involved in and help them to get better at it.
As a father, I live through their experiences and find joy in doing that because it brings so much happiness into our lives, it's also good for their and our overall wellbeing, even if it means I have to cancel some of my own plans because that’s what we do.