The mannerly modern mother may be forgiven for being surprised at the latest tennis news.  In case you missed it, as of last month, for the first time since the computerized tennis ranking system began - the US "didn't have a single man or woman in the top 10 in the men's or women's tours."  The piece goes on to talk about why Europe is so dominant in tennis these days and attributes European success to clay courts, patience, defense, and nationalized instruction standards none of which the article suggests US tennis has.

Tennis aside, a modern mother may begin to wonder what on earth we are doing with our time.   If it seems these days the average 5 year old spends 6.2 hours a week outside of school on athletic and artistic "enrichment" shouldn't the US be doing a little bit better at tennis?  Or is all this "exposing" parents believe so essential (Now that he is 4, I  need to expose Horatio to as many things as possible so he can decide where his strengths lie)  really just an excuse to get one's children out of one's hair?  Plus, one wonders,  if the child is exposed to too many things isn't there a risk she won't be able to become good at anything in particular? 

Of course then there are the parents who choose a single activity for their child (fallen golf stars and olympic gymnasts come to mind) for selfish (money and glory) or misguided (I've heard squash/fencing/bassoon is guaranteed to get you into Yale)  reasons.  One might consider them the lunatic fringe of the enrichment bell curve.  As for this approach all we can say is: professional ice skating drama and  Holden Caulfield  was on the fencing team. 

So the modern mother must consider wisely before choosing too many or too few interests for her child at a young age.   Should the modern mother chooses to go the intensified or overexposed route - please do us all a favor and sign your children up for tennis on clay courts.  The USTA will thank you.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

this kind of makes me think of Race to Nowhere...

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