Kids Need Time

Saturday, July 7, 2018 by Daniel Ales | Parental Advice

“It takes approximately 10,000 hours of study and practice at a particular task to become a master of it.” - Outliers, by Malcom Gladwell

There is an old saying I picked up in high school from one of my friends and I have learned to accept it as true. I always found it weird that given everything I knew about this guy at the time that he could spout off such wisdom, but I came to realize later that he picked it up from his father, (which made way more since). The saying went like this:

”In life you have two options. You can either be a Jack of All and Master of None, or don’t be Jack, and Master some.”

When I first heard this saying, it didn’t make much of an impact on me until a few years later when I was studying the Book of Proverbs and I came across this verse:

“Do you see that man masterful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.” - Proverbs 22:29

And then this life lesson hit even closer to home when I was studying personal finances and I learned about a unique law called “The Law of Oppurtunity Cost”. This law is a very simple concept, in the area of finance, it states: If you spend a dollar in one place, you in turn CAN NOT spend that same dollar in another place. I found this to be kind of mind blowingly obvious and wondered why I never thought about it. And after I mulled it over, I realized that the same law could be applied to our personal time, because as we know, TIME IS MONEY:

“If you spend a minute doing one task, you in turn CAN NOT spend that same minute doing another task.” 

All this to say, I know we want our children involved with everything they might be interested in. It seems right and reasonable to involve them in every activity that we can possibly fit in their/our schedule. We want our children to be “WELL ROUNDED” (I hate that term). But I have to ask, is this shallow? Are we depriving our children of the understanding of what it means to put all your effort into a task and get as much as you can out of it? How can find out if you truly have a passion for something unless you take the time needed to seek out the answer? And how can you take the time needed to seek it out, if all your time is split between so many other tasks? 

I am not suggesting to NOT involve your kids in fun extracurricular activities. I, as the piano teacher, need parents to do that with their kids. I am simply suggesting that you limit your children’s activities, to allow them adequate time to discover who they really are in the tasks they endeavor to partake.