I might be showing my age with this article, but when I was young there was a story that went around asking whether it was better to be a nerd or a jock. It listed all the money that Michael Jordan made doing every daily task, like going to the movies earning him $175,000 plus and going to the bathroom made him $3000. After a few dozen examples, it switched perspectives, saying that it would take 450 years for the former Chicago Bulls superstar to match what Bill Gates already had.
Nerds win, it declares.
Of course you want your child to get ahead, but the amount of wealth obtained at the end of a career isn’t the only measure of ‘winning’ that exists; neither is developing their first computer software before the age of 13. There are certain stigma’s about nerds that you’d like for your kids to avoid; even Bill Gates had very few friends when he was a teen. On the flip side of the coin, winning 6 championships isn’t all there is to life either; before finding his stride, Michael Jordan was doing poorly in school.
Having time for technology and sports, without sacrificing academic success or friendships, is really tough for a kid. It’s doubtful that they could do it alone without an amazing support system. If your child shows an interest in both activities, you’ll have to be their support system.
It’s a crazy task to undertake, and hopefully your child picks a favorite sport that’s a little less crazy than Canadian youth hockey!
Thankfully, today, technology has evolved. It’s at a point that where, when, and how kids use it to their advantage no longer is limited to the home. With tablets and educational apps available anywhere, they can learn programming through games or through animation. They can express themselves to their friends through a custom website or continue to foster their love of the technology while you, the parent, play chauffeur from one field to another.
The number 1 technology university in the world, MIT, is a grueling, exhaustive educational institute. Yet they still have sports teams. A few years ago, MIT student-athletes were interviewed and asked a few key questions which boil down to: “Are you happy?” and “How do you cope?”
These MIT students reported that, even though sports limit their time to study and are a significant logistical nightmare, they are happier and more satisfied with their academic life during the sport’s season. When the off season arrives, their tendency is to get more lax with their time management.
They described coping with the two, often conflicting, schedules as a joy and not a chore. One student said that “I never feel that one (activity) conflicts with the other, they kind of go hand in hand.” even though another student mentioned that during a tournament, because of the distances his basketball team needed to go to get to the games, he found himself missing a lot of class. However, during the time he was not playing, he was working to keep up with the class so as to not fall behind.
Giving your kids every opportunity is every parent’s goal so if student-athletes exist at a university like MIT, then it must be possible to nurture kids to juggle both hobbies.
How do you balance tech and sports with your kids? We’d love to hear from you. Share your favourite ways below!