1) The Amount of Extra-Curricular Activities, Not the Quality Of
When did having 8 after-school activities become the norm? Because required? Become the ideal? When I ask kids, “What is your favorite sport to play?” The typical answer I get is, “Well, I play 6 sports–Lacrosse, Basketball, Tennis, Track, Baseball and swimming in the off seasons.” What happened to picking extra-curriculars because you like them, not because you can fit them in?
2) The Amount of Friends, Not the Quality Of
I wrote an article called Cotton Candy Friending about how so many online friends have the nutritional value of cotton candy, not brisket. Teens (and adults) seem to collect social networking friends like marbles. When did it become a requirement to have over 500 Facebook friends to be considered ‘cool’?
I have noticed that parents talk about time with their kids more and more in terms of how long, not how deep. A parent told me, “I spent four hours with her on Sunday, of course we are close!” I asked, “Doing what?” She said, “We watched Tivo together.” This is quantity, not quality and I think we need to start thinking about how we often forget that quantity and quality is not the same thing. In the Busy Paradox, I also examine how we get sucked into a trap of thinking that the busier we are, the more successful we are. I do not believe this is true. I have recently been trying to think more carefully about what I spend my time on and not fall into the quantity trap.
Do you think your child has quality activities or quantity activities? Do you spend quality time or quantity time? Are you friends real or cotton candy?