I’m a firm believer that our children are a product of what they’re exposed to – or the opportunities granted to them. Chances are slim that you’ll have children that play the piano if you don’t actually own a piano. Or that you’ll raise a hockey player if you don’t live near an ice rink. Our circumstances and finances often dictate what that exposure or opportunities might be.
I remember reading Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell where he talks about the tech giants Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. They were both raised in areas with advancing technology and both had access to play and tinker with computers at a young age. I believe their exposure greatly contributed to their success. Thinking about either one of them being raised on a farm in a rural community would have changed their trajectory significantly.
The same goes for our own children. Hallie is the oldest of 5 and the only girl. As much as she might have enjoyed dance – I am not a dance mom and never even considered putting her in dance. She would have loved gymnastics – but when we looked into it, it required a time and money commitment we weren’t willing to make.
When she turned 8 and was ready to start playing sports (our family rule) we were still in the throws of Steve’s masters program, long work commutes and several young kids. Steve and I both love tennis so when we asked her if she wanted to play tennis (a lower time commitment and more flexible) she jumped at the chance.
After the first year, we thought maybe she would try another sport. She thought about it and considered volleyball with her friends, but she didn’t want to give up tennis and they conflicted. Here we are four years later with quite the little tennis player – it’s what she was exposed to. She can still shoot a basketball and hit a softball, but she excels at tennis. Could that have been any number of sports…probably. But her opportunity was tennis and I love watching her grow and develop as a player.
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