As I was beginning to concentrate on specific talents that I possessed, most of the advice I received as a teenager was to become well rounded, taking a break from seasonal activities when the season concluded. While I was experiencing a multitude of hobbies, I noticed that those individuals who focused on one sport began to surpass my own skill level. Subsequently, I tended to excel at every sport I played except basketball, yet I never reached a great level, just very good. Modern travel ball clubs and teams are trying to make the cream of the crop into the very best.
Today, nations across the globe are developing gifted professional athletes through a series of cutting edge schools dedicated to one specific concentration. Although countries like China have taken this to extremes highlighted by the 2012 Summer Olympics coverage, limiting parental visitation to their sports academies, America appears to have fallen way behind the rest of the world. Instead of indoctrinating students with a well rounded view of political correctness, education should focus on the basics: reading, writing and arithmetic. Time will tell who is correct.
As I get down off my soap box, my role has changed from the student to the guardian. It’s my turn to pass the torch to the next generation. Do I allow my 3 kids to encounter various activities or do I push them toward choosing one thing to invest their time and energy? Part of me is torn, wanting my children to be exposed to opportunities I never had the chance to participate in. On the other hand, you can’t teach passion, so in the end, young people will determine their future based upon the choices each makes. The last thought I has is this: Do you want to be good at many things or do you want to be the best at one specific thing? God’s blessings to all in 2014 as you ponder if you want to be well rounded or dedicate your time to one thing.
by Jay Mankus