Choosing the right summer activities
By Dennis and Thammie Sy
Q: How do I know what classes to sign my kids up this school break?
Dennis: Growing up, I never experienced taking up summer classes since I was tasked to go to Tutuban to man our family’s store. There weren’t that many options for summer classes except swimming w, piano lessons, and English and Speech classes. Same goes for Thammie. There were even fewer options for her since she grew up in the province.
We live in a very different world today. The choices for summer classes are limitless, ranging from affordable and simple types to the more sophisticated ones. In light of all the options out there, how can we choose the right activities for our kids?
Thammie: Here are some questions that can help you pick the right classes:
What do your kids enjoy?
Dennis: Do your kids actually like the classes you chose for them? I remembered being forced to join a violin class which I had no interest in and that did not last long for me. It also had no good return, because I was hoping to learn something else that summer. My mind was set on something, yet my parents decided to enroll me somewhere else. While the kids are still young, it is always good to explore their possible areas of interest and skill.
The good thing about our children is they are usually sincere and open about how they feel towards whatever we enroll them in. An example of this is with our third child who we enrolled in Taekwondo along with our eldest daughter. He got reprimanded by the coach a lot because he easily lost focus and ended up playing with his friends. Upon probing, he told us that though he enjoyed it, he would instead do something different like dancing or basketball. Having conversations with our kids would help us pinpoint the classes that might best fit them.
2. What is the budget and projected return of investment?
As much as we want to enroll our kids in many of the classes offered, we must work within the family budget. Another consideration is the return of investment. Even though it is a given that most classes could be considered investments for their future, it would be good to have a path for our kids when it comes to their activities. We enrolled our second daughter in ballet class one summer so she can get a feel of whether or not it was something she would like and would be able to commit to. She never thought she would like ballet. What she knew was that she loved theater. When she found out that having ballet skills would be beneficial for her dreams of getting into theater arts at some point, she decided to pursue ballet. As most parents would know, her ballet classes take up a lot of time, commitment, and money. In our daughter’s mind, this is worth the investment because it is in line with her desire for being in theater arts. As parents, this is worth the investment because it is in line with our heart for her to develop discipline and character, which she would need to survive in the real world as an adult.
3. What values are important to you?
Since our family values learning and serving, we have challenged our kids to use their talents and gifts to serve others. As they make progress and continue to be deliberate in growing their skills, it is not for them to feel good about themselves nor is it to boost our ego as parents.
Our eldest daughter is into piano, which she also decided to commit to after a summer class program. Since then, she has learned how to play the piano well, and we are in the process of encouraging her to use her gift to be a pianist in our church. We want them to give back whatever they have learned to serve others and contribute to society.
A word of caution: It is easy to decide to enroll our kids in several activities this summer, just because this has been quite the norm in our day and age. It would be good to keep in mind, however, that the summer break is also the best time to slow down, take time off, let our children be children, and enjoy each other without the rush to go from one place to another. There will always be classes that are offered year after year. This precious time we can have with our children now comes but once.
About the author: Dennis is a the senior pastor of Victory Greenhills and is a best-selling author of three books. Thammie is a homeschooling mom and a certified childbirth educator and labor coach. They have been married for thirteen years and have four kids.