I'm grateful that my mom encouraged me to try many extracurricular activities when I was younger and was equally supportive when one of them wasn't right for me.
Whether it was running for vice president in elementary school or playing the clarinet in the band, my mom urged me to participate in a wide range of activities throughout my childhood. I even remember her supporting my interest in diving lessons in 7th grade, despite the fact I was not graceful and I was generally afraid of heights. Diving definitely wasn't my thing, but I stuck with it through the series of lessons I had signed up for and I actually overcame my fear of the high dive. What’s more, when I opted to stop after one season, she didn’t view my decision as “quitting,” rather she applauded me for having tried something so new and different.
Now, as an adult, having tried so many things growing up has made me more adventurous. Without those experiences as a kid, I may not have had the courage to start my own business, or sign up for adult tap lessons (even though I had neither prior experience or rhythm!). I'm not afraid of trying something that I may or may not be good at.
As I parent three young boys I hope I’m paying it forward, by encouraging them to take risks and try new things. While I'd love for them to find a few interests that stick with them over time, I also hope they are willing to try out different activities, even if they aren't naturally inclined to be good at them.
Hopefully, as I continue to be adventurous, it sets an example for my children and shows them that life is about trial and error. They may not realize it now, but that's how I often feel about parenting too!