Play an Instrument, Play a Sport, Learn a Language
Updated: Aug 16, 2019
With school starting soon, I thought I’d share 3 rules I had at home for my kids: play an instrument, play a sport, learn a language.
These three rules ensured that my kids would get a pretty well-rounded education. Each one had significant life education:
Playing an instrument taught them to appreciate a performing art, and not to be afraid in front of an audience. Useful for later in life when presentation skills will become so critical. Also, music is very mathematical, so that helped with learning math. My son learned the piano, while my daughter took up the flute. Both have been playing for 7 years or more.
Playing a sport (individual or team) taught them endurance, teamwork (in the case of a team sport), self-reliance (in the case of an individual sport) and to strive for a goal. We allowed them to experiment with as many sports as they wanted. And they seemed to try them all: soccer, track, cross country, basketball, karate, figure skating, sailing. What stuck (for both kids) was figure skating. Interestingly, it is one of the few activities that is both a performing art and a sport. There was synchronized skating, Theater On Ice, Nutcracker on Ice, Spring Show, and numerous individual competitions. Plus many hours on the ice, often at 6:00 am before school.
Learning a language, which came a little later than I would have liked, taught them to see the world through a different culture’s eyes.
At work, I had 3 rules for my team, although I never explicitly stated them as such:
Continuously learn. Those of you who read my weekly posts know how much I stress the importance of education. Never stop learning. Ever. I stress that to everyone. Learn at work. Learn at home. Learn everywhere. Learn anything.
Teach others. Share knowledge; it is a gift. Making people around you smarter makes you both smarter. Plus, it's selfish not to teach. And there comes a point in one's career when it is time to give back. Think of all the people who taught you something along the way. Give back and pay it forward when you can.
Manage your own career. I first heard this phrase when I was at Deloitte, 20+ years ago, although it took a while before I had matured enough to fully understand what it meant and how to actually do it. You can’t manage your career unless you do #1 & 2 above, for starters. Always be thinking of how you got to where you are, where you want to be, and how you can get there.