I am a proponent of children focusing on one activity as opposed to jumping from one kind of lesson to another (last month, karate, this month, golf). I have two kids who tell me they are grateful for their expertise on violin and would not have it any other way.
But I wanted to ask other children their thoughts. This week, I quizzed 90 students. The most passionate answers came from children who have been taking lessons in something since they were three, or four, or five. They are proud to say that at age eleven, they have six, seven or even eight years of experience in dance or gymnastics or violin. They hold their skills dear to their hearts. One sentiment kept coming up: “My (activity) is part of who I am.”
Students who have started and quit various activities gave lukewarm responses, “Yeah, it might be good. But I like that I know how several things work. I don’t know. I suppose it might feel good to be really good at something.”
I am not sure this is a one-size-fits-all practice. Perhaps some children have a bigger need for exploration and experimentation. However, I do know that perseverance and mastery require a lot of hours. Through competitions, auditions and practice, young people learn how to handle disappointment and setbacks. They open themselves to “failure” and they become resilient. They gain confidence.