Ballet, karate, music lessons, sports—when the school day ends for today's children, their activities are just beginning. But are all these extracurriculars good for children, or are they simply overscheduled?
Looking around at other families, Rabbi Shmuley says he felt guilty that his children weren't involved in more activities. He realized that his guilt was motivated by fear. "The greatest fear of all is inadequacy—the fear that we don't matter," he says. "I fear that we transfer those fears onto our children and make them excel at everything in order to finally be good enough."
The most important thing we can give our children, Rabbi Shmuley says, is security. "It will not come from ballet, but from strong family attachments," he says. "That doesn't mean your kid shouldn't have after-school activities, but if they begin to impede family unity, it's not worth it."
Rather than overscheduling his children, Rabbi Shmuley spends time with them, teaching the value of feeling at ease and enjoying idle moments. He also shares with them his five passions:
Rabbi Shmuley's Five Passions:
- Love of history
- Love of nature
- Love of tradition
- Love of God
- Love of God's children
"We parents dare not impart to our children our own fear of inadequacy. Very often, overscheduling them is a manifestation of just that. Let your children succeed from within. Let them respond to an inner calling."