Don’t you kind of secretly wish your child would be interested in the same things you are? It’s not the worst thing when someone comments on how your child reminds them of you, or looks like you (which rarely happens in my case)! But, it teeters on a compliment when your kid is called ‘mini-Sarah’. I admit that I don’t mind.
However, when Anna was little, I would frequently be disappointed by her genuine dislike for the outdoors. Forget hiking. She was super sensitive towards the cold. She was ultra lazy. And, she was just not happy with our outdoor excursions. While I feel energized by fresh air and nature, she was the polar opposite.
But, I kept trying. We kept going over to Ijams. We continued to go to the park. We even foolishly camped from time to time. Many memories include Anna crying, whining, and being generally unhappy. Yet, I persisted.
And then there was Brody. He did enjoy being outside and was usually happy exploring, getting dirty, and having adventures. What he wasn’t into was sports. While Bo once applied to work at ESPN and had season tickets to the VOLS, Brody just didn’t seem destined to be a sports guy.
He wasn’t one of those toddlers who went straight towards a ball. He didn’t have much coordination. He didn’t ever want to watch sports. He was (is) actaully a little wimpy. I just prepared Bo by telling him that he may not be the sports kid. (And we were both ok with that.)
Fast forward to ages 8 and 10 and I’d say their interests have changed quite a bit. I pressumed Anna would always be a little princess. Yet, Anna actually said she wanted to go hiking the first day of spring break and thanked me afterwards. What!? And when we were at the beach this past week, Brody begged to play soccer at the soccer fields every day, all of the time.
Not only that, but Brody records football and soccer games on t.v. He has knowledge of players I have never heard of. It’s like he actually cares. Is it because it’s the ‘cool’ thing to do when you’re a 4th grade boy? Maybe. But, I also think that if you continue exposing a kid to something and they kind of like you, it’ll catch. Eventually, you wear them down! 😉
I’m not saying Anna will hike the A.T. or Brody will become the next Messi, but there’s a chance that these are habits they’re building. Anna loved the school yoga class and chooses to go on walks, jogs, and even the occasisonal hike. While Brody asks to go play basketball, throw the football, and most frequently play soccer most afternoons. If we, as parents, didn’t enjoy these things and they didn’t see us doing this stuff, I don’t know that they’d want to give it a try.
Some kids are born just naturally loving something. Brody was passionate about dinosaurs and reptiles when he was young, and Anna still loves Baby Alives in an unnatural way. So they do have their unique interests, and I’m glad.
But, what I do believe is that kids are malleable. You can’t mold them into any shape you want (nor should you) but we do help shape them. Children who are close to their parents will end up absorbing some of their habits and interests, the good and the bad!
It’s really fullfilling to see them finding joy in something, self-discovered interests, family interests, and activities you enjoy together. I want to continue this balance. The ying yang of family interests and personal hobbies creates a healthy blend.
There’s the old saying, ‘A family that prays together, stays together.’ While that may be true (who knows?), I do believe that you spend enough quality time together and genuinely like, appreciate, and encourage each other, you’ll stay together.
A family that plays together, stays together!