Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Great Debate

There is a great debate going on in my head, more like an epic battle, maybe just a seesaw, but decisions are needing to be made.  They feel like life-changing decisions, and, I suppose, in a way, they are. 

We have always been a 'one activity per child' family.  It's a simple concept, really.  Having four kids and a single income, certain limitations are necessary for a reasonably balanced life with extracurriculars.

In the past, Mr. T has been our karate guy.  We encouraged this activity initially because Mr. T is a gentle spirit and we believed he would benefit from the self defense, competition, and self confidence that is learned through karate.  Over the years, he has grown to love it!  And he loves his teacher.  But we've come to a point where we feel he needs to be challenged more and the current situation is not cutting it.

This summer we were blessed to find an incredible private swim instructor for a completely reasonable rate --- and she comes to our house!  Interestingly, Mr. T has become quite a swimmer.  After just 3 lessons, he tested at the highest swim level recently at Boy Scout camp.  Seriously, for a kid who really lacks interest in sports and most things outdoors, he excels at swimming!

Which brings me to my point, really.  I'm considering having T try out for a local swim team.  That meets three nights per week.  And I'm having a very hard time deciding if this is the right thing to do.  When I asked him about it, he said, "I know you're very excited about it Mom.  And I could make new friends and get exercise..."   {I love that kid.}  I'm just really struggling with the 3x per week commitment that goes all year.  I mean, last year the kids all participated in Upward Basketball in the winter which was great for T, and I'd like to do that again...but swimming is already 3x per week.  (Incidentally, changing karate dojos would translate to 3 practices per week, also.  Plus a few thousand dollars up front.  {Hello?!  Is it like that everywhere, or just in St. Louis?!})

So, there's the great debate.  Take T out of something he loves but isn't challenging him or really even teaching him beyond an elementary form of karate and put him into something he might enjoy and may truly benefit from but that puts serious time constraints on the family?  Or sit out extras entirely this year?  Or maintain status quo and put him back in the same karate class he's been in for the last 3 years that isn't challenging him or teaching beyond a 'fun' form of run-around-the-room-and-kick karate??

In the scheme of things, it's not life or death or rocket science.  But it's my Mr. T.  I want to do what will make him happy and what is best for him, while also balancing what is best for the family as a whole.  I've tried to talk to the parents of some of his buddies, but no one in his group of friends is interested in swim team for us to pursue a 'carpooling' scenario.

*sigh*  Motherhood.  The toughest job you'll ever love.

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