It starts at an early age. Remember when you were young? I remember inviting a friend over to the house and that was the activity so to speak. You had a friend to play with and you were set for the day. I never asked my mom for anything except maybe a snack or lunch. Today you invite the friend over, then you have to go to the park or the pool or maybe you have to see a movie or ride go-karts. It seems like it's just never enough. We never had an organized "play date" when I was a kid. You woke up, walked out the door and rang your neighbor's door. "Can Bobby come out and play?" Once you had your friends assembled you were covered for hours. We'd play hide and seek, baseball, football, ride bikes. It was a full day and mom and dad were never involved until they called us home for dinner.
We see the "culture of more" in today's athletes. I've often wondered why so many college athletes are transferring each year. Why pro athletes don't stay with the same team very long. I believe it's the "culture of more" and it starts at an early age. My son plays sports and already we see players looking for better teams, more opportunities, greater exposure, elite training...HE'S NINE!
Do you know how many professional baseball players have played in the Little League World Series? I read a story that lists 31 major league baseball players who have played in the Little League World Series and Major League baseball. By the way, none of those players are named Jeter, Pujols or Verlander. Yet as parents we think our young boys are somehow going to miss out on a Major League career if they're not on the right team, getting the right coaching, getting the right training and nutrition as a kid.
We see it in schools. Charter schools, private schools, public schools...what's a parent to do? "WHAT? YOU'RE SON'S LEARNING CHINESE?" Great, now I have to find a school offering a foreign language for my 8-year-old. Don't get me wrong, education is VERY important to me but I don't recall having significant homework until about 5th grade. My son has already had nights where we spent close to an hour on homework and he's getting ready to start 3rd grade. The question being, is my son any smarter than the average 9-year-old of 35-40 years ago? I don't know the answer to that question.
Sure, it's easy to get caught up in the "culture of more." I have to check myself often when we're looking to buy something or just how we're raising our boys. You always want your kids to have an advantage. My son has taken private lessons for hitting and pitching. We've spent hours looking for the perfect pre-school. Trust me, I'm far from perfect, that's not the point of this blog. The problem I see is this new desire to have more is taking a toll on other values like commitment, accountability and loyalty. It's a different time and we're starting to see different values replace what many of us were taught as kids. There's nothing wrong with success or the desire to have the best or be the best. I guess the real question is how you reach that success and the values you carry with you along the way.
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