I’ve always been determined that my children will have every cultural advantage I had as a child, which means that they will know how to swim competitively, to read music, to play at least one instrument, and have an additional sport of their choice. It seemed a matter of course that they would also go to the Symphony (ballet, opera and theatre) and have cultivated a great love of reading from an early age.
But I’m starting to realize that I’m setting an unfair expectation. First of all, they do benefit from many of these things. My 8-year old daughter takes classical ballet twice a week, and has solfège (music theory) along with her piano lessons. My 7-year old son has soccer once a week, introduction to solfège and instrument discovery, which will help him choose what he will want to play in the future. My youngest son, who is only four, is taking multi-sports – his own particular activity that he takes very seriously as a participating member of the under-ten set in the family.
But Symphony and theatre? It’s too far, too expensive, too inconvenient. Swimming lessons? We can’t fit them into our already packed schedule. And reading? I’m not inspired to go to the library each week like I did as a child, because it means that they will be reading even more French, and they already get plenty of that in school. What about that love of literature they were supposed to have cultivated in English – in my native tongue? For heaven’s sake, they don’t even know they’re half-American, and keep asking when we’re going to go visit their grandparents in England again! (more…)