John Rosemond - Parenting Expert
Enrolling young children
in enrichment programs
A: In my cynical estimation, these programs are marketed to parents who are seeking the status of raising what I call a "Trophy Child"—a child who possesses a number of impressive creative, academic, and/or athletic talents before his time, a child one can brag about to one’s friends, all of whom are probably engaged in like bragging, trying to out-brag one another. The 2- or 3-year-old TC can even be trotted out at social events to perform for the crowd—the ultimate act of one-upmothership.
Enrolling children as young as two in these largely superfluous activities has become a way (the way?) in which today’s moms demonstrate their commitment to their children, the implicit understanding being that the mom who has her child in the most enrichment programs at the earliest age is the most conscientious mother in the neighborhood and perhaps in the entire history of the human race.
When I point out that these programs may indeed promote the development of certain esoteric skills, but generally fail to build character, and that in the final analysis, character is what truly counts, most people excuse themselves from the conversation. I suddenly become the Grinch that’s out to steal the thunder of the modern mom. I understand. These activities not only confer status upon mothers, but are also the context within which many women make friends these days. A mother who takes the bold step of not enrolling her toddler in these programs separates herself from the peer group during its formative stage. She risks the loss of social opportunity, but worse, she risks being talked about behind her back. Things of this sort make me glad I’m not a mom.
The answer to your question is, yes, I think these programs are a general waste of family energy, but to any woman who might be inclined to take my advice and not enroll her child in at least one of them, I ask, “Are you willing to accept the consequences?”
I blame Tiger Woods’ parents for having started this modern mania by providing professional golf lessons to Tiger when he was a toddler. As everyone knows, Tiger went on to become perhaps the best golfer the world has ever seen. (Then, there is Ernie Banks, star shortstop for the long-suffering Chicago Cubs, who did not begin playing baseball until he was 18.) But no one seems to consider where Tiger might be today if when his parents were providing him with professional golf lessons, all the other parents in America were doing the same thing. Would he have won the Masters, or would he have been in the crowd, watching the winner walk up the 18th hole?
Personally, I admire Tiger more for his grace, manners, apparent humility, and the fact that he seems to have formed a stable marriage than I do for his golfing skills. From all that I’ve seen, he seems like a generally nice guy who has figured out how to not be regular feature on the front page of Star magazine. I take it his parents made sure he learned to be a gentleman while he was learning to play golf. If something happened to Tiger that prevented him from ever again swinging a golf club, he’d still be a gentleman. That’s what counts, you see?
Unfortunately, there are no bumper stickers that read: My child has
Copyright © 2000 - 2009 All Rights Reserved Washington
This web page is best viewed in 1024 x 768 resolution. Last updated April 2009. Over 1,194,000 page views.
This web site is maintained by Washington Publishers, Tallahassee Florida, USA, and uses Sun Domains and Software.
To have objectionable or potentially copyrighted material evaluated for removal on this site, click here.
Washington Publishers is not an affiliate of Inside Washington Publishers.
Learn more about our current privacy and information practices.