Development and Decision-Making
I always give my parents plenty of credit for doing the best they could, especially give what they had to work with. However, my one serious criticism (and source of lasting resentment) concerns the fact that they required me to take violin lessons for 10 long years – from the age of 4 to the age of 14.
I was a total jock and wanted to spend all my time perfecting my football, baseball, and basketball skills. Nevertheless, I could understand their insistence that playing a musical instrument was important and would make me a well-rounded individual. On the other hand, as I got older and yearned to at least be playing something “cool” like guitar, drums, or saxophone, I could not understand their insistence that I stick with the violin.
When I confronted them about this, their response was, “We asked you what instrument you wanted to play, and you chose the violin.” They were absolutely right about that. On the other hand, I was only four years old when I made that choice. Yes, children need to be encouraged to follow through on their decisions and stick with commitments they have made. But their developmental level must be taken into account and some flexibility accorded during their early years.
A young child who is passionate about painting one day may be equally or even more passionate about dancing, hockey, or the piano the next day. To enroll the child in a program that focuses on just one thing may ultimately be unfair to him and financially wasteful for his parents. It is far better to place him in an environment, such as Romp n’ Roll, where he has the opportunity to pursue his present inclinations as well as the opportunity to explore and possibly switch to something else as well.
Michael K. Meyerhoff, Ed.D. (a.k.a. “Dr. Mike”) is a member of the management team at Romp n’ Roll. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Columbia University, he earned his master’s and doctorate degrees in human development from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he also held a position as a researcher with the Harvard Preschool Project. He may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.