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Friday, January 27, 2023

"It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men."

Frederick Douglass

HomeRethinking Our Approach to Kids' Extracurriculars

Rethinking Our Approach to Kids' Extracurriculars

We’ve been quiet on the content front, and for good reason: the kids (here in the U.S. and across the developed world) are not alright and it’s clear to us that the existing cultural focus (pressing kids into heavy-duty academics and an endless parade of adult-sanctioned extracurriculars) may work for some, but for the majority it’s a failure.

What constitutes a failure? For starters, epidemic levels of:

  • Mental problems for children, teens, and young adults
  • Suicides and suicide ideation
  • Apathy and disconnect
  • Kids abandoning sports and other healthy activities

And lest you blame such trends on COVID, note that all of them began long before the pandemic. In fact, many for their start 20 years ago.

So we’re shaking up things a bit. We’ll still focus on extracurriculars and a directory of those services. But we’re going to do a lot more on activities and opportunities that transcend or altogether bypass the usual suspects.

In the words, is sports and athletics for kids good? Of course. But there needs to be more of a focus on the arts, on outdoor living and re-attuning with nature (e.g., hiking, camping, gardening, etc.).

Similarly, while a focus on STEM can indeed be important to a child’s long-term academic and professional prospects, so too can the arts expand and enhance a child’s creative mindset.

In short, while there’s plenty good to be found in modern American extracurriculars, we think there’s a reason record numbers of kids are abandoning sports and disappearing behind screens. We adults have created a lot those problems and it’s up to us to rectify them.

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