DS is at an age where we are making decisions about „organized“ hobbies as it were, ie deciding whether to enrol him in a sport here, a music class there, and generally trying to find out what will make him happy in life.
Of course, the primary principle would be enrol him in whatever he enjoys and shows some natural talent for, and I wouldn’t want to enrol him in anything he didn’t like just because I think he should be doing it (with the exception of swim class) because what would be the point, he’d just refuse to take part. And of course, there are access, finances, friends and family to consider – meaning that if the whole family likes to hang out with friends on the golf course whenever (not us), golf it’s gonna be, and while we can reach the mountains fairly quickly, beach sports are out. And so on.
But there are other considerations I am mulling over so if, like me, you enjoy obsessing about this kind of thing, please tell me your thoughts!
I think that, among other things, a hobby should be, if possible, transportable, sustainable, conducive to community and to health, so that’s where I’d want to nudge him toward.
By transportable I mean a hobby like choir singing – I moved around so much, including across the Atlantic and back, but the one constant was I always find a choir to sing in, and my voice was always at hand. A violin is so much easier to transport than a tuba or a harp, and while there are some instruments there are always very few positions for, there is usually room somewhere in the back of the second violins even for a mediocre player like me. While a piano is hard to take on a plane, there is usually one around and it’s a great transferable skill. And all of this is stuff you can do until you’re old, so it’s sustainable, too.
It’s not so easy to find a sport you can do until you’re old, though I think swimming actually fits the bill – I told DS swim class is non-negotiable for safety reasons, and once he’s done I want to enrol him in a swim team. I think it’s healthy and helps with his sensory issues, and so far he is enjoying it - it’s not a team sport like soccer or basketball, which I know he’d hate. While the community aspect of soccer is big in Europe – every able-bodied European male is expected to be able to kick a ball around without embarassing himself, for instance at a corporate retreat – I expect school to shove it down his throat anyway. I’d also like him to get outdoors a lot, so I am hoping to enrol him in rowing or canoing later (we live on a river), another sport for a solitary little soul who likes the water. Skiing is a wonderful outdoors activity for winter when river sports take a break and is something we can do as a family, and so is hiking in summer. Another hobby that is really useful I think is a martial art for self-defense, so I am thinking of maybe enrolling him in karate or something similar at some point.
I also think that just like DH, he’ll enjoy doing things with his hands, learning proper drawing, woodshop. That kind of thing. But DH is a great teacher and I think at his age, there won’t be a class where they actually teach anything as opposed to just encourage creativity, which he can exercise at home with crayons and lego. If he wants proper teaching, we can find real art or woodwork classes for him when he’s older.
So right now it’s swim class, violin lessons, a foreign language class offered through pre-school, and lots and lots of drawing and playdo and building stuff in the sandbox.
And I hope he won’t develop an all-consuming passion for figure-skating.
What else would you recommend as a really useful (in the transportable, sustainable, conducive to community and to health –sense) hobby for a child to pick up?