“Are you serious?!” Really. Are you? I mean, what determines “seriousness”? Sometimes I am seriously having fun when a person in authority tells me to “get serious.” Two practices a week is not considered “serious” practice for a youth sport anymore. If I get into “serious” trouble, is that worse than just trouble?
I think the term serious is defined by the user. If we do something seriously, we are saying we will devote more attention to that activity or event than usual. We will seek success… which begs the question: Don’t we want success in all we do?
I don’t think we actually do. For instance, if I get serious about losing weight, then the next six months of my life are going to be miserable. I will lose the weight. Draw no wrong conclusions: when I’m serious, I’m successful. But at what cost? All I think about all day long is what I can eat that won’t cost me too many points and how I miss sweets and carbs. I dream about food, and I go to bed hungry but out of points. I look and feel better, but then comes a time when I cannot devote all my thinking to what goes in my mouth. Yes, I gain weight, but I am much more content… fulfilled even. Maybe that’s the origin of the phrase “fat and happy.’ And I am… till I’m not. Cue the “seriousness”!
It’s important that we as parents teach our kids to take their endeavors seriously, but we also have to encourage them to not bank their whole futures on one activity. Every parent hopes to win the “full-ride scholarship” lottery, but we cannot let that be our focus. I would encourage you to sit down with your children at the beginning of each school year and help them choose three to four activities to which they can commit while still being able to complete studies and household obligations well, as well as have time for social activities. We have all of our lives to be serious. In childhood, we should be able to experience as many activities as possible before settling down on the things we will take most seriously as adults.