September 4, 2013 at 3:53 AM
Living a balanced life.
Back in the day I remember having a high school schedule totally inundated with an overabundance of extracurriculars, especially during my junior and senior years. After all, college applications were due and I needed to beef up my resume. I was hoping for a music scholarship, so naturally I had to be involved in everything possible:
The world was mine. I could do it all . . .
. . . that is, until I found myself completely overwhelmed. One day in particular, I remember breaking down in tears, realizing I couldn't be in three places at the same time. I had just landed a great role in the spring production of Shakespeare's The Tempest after auditioning on a whim. Having never been in a play before, I was so excited by the possibility of acting on stage for the first time. But, unfortunately, rehearsals would conflict with lacrosse practice and my youth symphony's rehearsals and spring concerts.
What to do? I didn't want to let my team down. I didn't want to let my conductor down, or my section, especially as I was standing principle. But I also didn't want to let myself down and my own dream to try something new.
So a hard decision was made. I chose to do the play. And as torn and sad as I was to step aside from sports and music for a short season, I look back on my high school years and treasure being a part of The Tempest as one of the most rewarding, memorable, and just plain fun experiences of my life.
Of course, I haven't acted since . . . but I do still play music. So not all was lost. The truth is, you just can't do everything and do everything well—at least not at the same time. It was a hard lesson learned, but a truth I had to accept.
Truth is, lessons aren't really just a one-hour commitment per week. Every one-hour lesson requires hours of practice in between to be worthwhile. Music lessons not accompanied by personal practice end up being a waste of resources for all parties involved (the student, the teacher, and the parents). So while it may seem like you're doing your child a favor to enroll him/her in as many extracurricular activities as you can possibly squeeze in, remember that each activity has the potential of drawing value from the others.
And really, there are so many good choices: music (to which we're biased, of course), drama, sports, art, dance, clubs, student government, and more. For each individual's interests, there are good choices--then there are better choices, and the best choices. As Ghandi so well put it,
"Action expresses priorities."
So as the school year begins, and those choices present themselves, keep in mind that there are only so many hours in the day. Still, even with those limited hours, it is possible to achieve great, great things.
Happy learning, and best wishes. Let the school year begin!
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