Extracurricular activities expand well beyond sports. Extracurricular could be the likes of chess club, art guild, community theatre, 4-H, and tons of other types of opportunities for kids to socialize. There is much more happening beneath the surface of these activities. Of course, when we think of clubs and activities outside of the classroom, sports always falls into this category. Undertakings that keep our kids active and social are at the foundation of who they are, and the goal is to allow these activities to help them thrive.
We teach follow-through and perseverance when we allow kids to choose an activity that interests them, and carry through with their actions. The notion of practicing something over and over, leads to learning the value of delayed gratification. One of the greatest purposes of extracurricular activities is to allow kids to experience the same types of goals and tasks as their required curriculum in school, but in a different setting. Just as getting a bad grade on a paper will cause children to reevaluate their study habits, losing a wrestling match allows for the same reflection. “What could I have done to change my performance, to alter my consequence?” It’s the intermittent feedback from a coach, teacher, or trainer is exactly what children need to to see the end of the next challenge. PERSEVERANCE. DRIVE. GRIT. This is how it happens.
When this drive, or ambition is present, grit follows. These kids are learning that disappointment can happen, but they don’t let it get them down. They allow their experiences to help them grow. Through guidance from parents and coaches, they set the bar high for themselves, and succeed. Whether they lose a chess match, forget a line on stage during a play, or turn the wrong way in a dance recital, they don’t let it get them down. These kids are full of strength, courage, independence, perseverance, and determination. Just by accomplishing one key element, they are developing their character and setting the bar higher for not just the next performance, but for the rest of their lives.