When I was a boy, it seemed that every kid in my neighborhood had a hobby of some kind. The boy next door liked to collect and trade baseball cards, my friend down the street liked to collect and identify rocks, and I liked to work in my family’s yard, trimming hedges, tending to plants and flowers, and keeping the grass looking green and lush. It seems that today, a lot of kids have “hobbies” such as watching TV, playing video games, or updating their Facebook status.
I think this is a huge disservice to our kids. They need to have hobbies for many reasons, not the least of which is to develop self-esteem based on achievement, rather than just because they are alive, which seems to be the trend today. Self-esteem based on the child’s achievements is a much more sturdy and long-lasting self-worth that endures. Building up a child based on little more than the fact that they exist is not substantial, it does not last. Giving every child a trophy is not a substantive way to grow self-esteem. Having a hobby that you work on, make goals toward, and achieve those goals is a fundamental way to earn strong self-esteem for life. To develop a hobby takes initiative, drive, and stick-to-itiveness that is important for many aspects of an adult’s life. When a child develops these qualities with their hobby, it will transfer to a career, their relationships, and their future goals. Having a hobby keeps kids interested in lifelong learning, whether they realize they are learning or not! When you have a hobby, you have something in your life that drives you to improve yourself, to keep learning, and to strive for excellence.
Having a hobby gives kids a reason to get away from the television, turn off the Xbox, put down the cell phone and do something that helps them feel good about themselves. It develops a love of learning, make goals and accomplish them, and know that success is not only possible, but inevitable when you put your mind to something.
As parents and caregivers, it is important that we set a good example for our kids by modeling hobby building behavior ourselves, encouraging our kids to develop their own hobbies, and enjoying hobbies together. Since having hobbies is such an important part of a kid’s life, from childhood to adulthood, it is our responsibility to nurture and promote their hobbies. Their hobbies now will make their lives better from now on!