Ballet lessons, piano lessons, violin lessons, soccer lessons, programming lessons, private tutoring, art lessons, sculpture lessons, dance lessons, lessons, lessons, lessons, lessons, lessons, lessons.
Me? I did my homework and played outside with my brother.
Other parents must have thought they had to give their children all the options so they wouldn't miss out. By middle school, few if any of my classmates didn't have some sort of music lessons or sports training under their belts.
Me? I did homework and did whatever I wanted afterwards.
Would I have minded piano lessons as a kid? No, I probably would've enjoyed them. Your parents might have decided what your lessons were when you were a kid, and those might have shaped you and become your greatest passions today. That's beautiful. Then, did I miss out? Not at all. The opposite case, the complete freedom I experienced as a kid, led me to some of my greatest values: passion, independence, and fun.
In third grade, my parents asked me, "Do you want to play a sport?" I remembered the cool sport I saw on TV the other day and replied, "Yeah, tennis seems cool." And so my dad drove me to the park every week and waited for me on a bench as the adults at the park taught the excited little girl tennis. Soon enough, I met someone in that community who taught me all the basics and paved my future in tennis.
In fifth grade, I asked my brother, "Can you teach me how to fold that origami?" And so I learned how to fold modular origami structures from 30 sheets of scratch paper, and I took off on my journey of learning more and more complicated origami on Youtube.
In seventh grade, my mom asked me, "Do you want this calligraphy pen?" I said, "Maybe." And so I taught myself the art of calligraphy, Gothic, Italic, Uncial, Roundhand, any cool font I could find online.
In my junior year of high school, I took my first formal art class to fulfill an elective requirement. But I didn't learn art from that class. I learned that colors could be complementary, that color gradience was supposed to be colored from light to dark.
But I continued to color from dark to light, I continued to use colors as I liked, I continued to stray as far as I wanted from assignment descriptions. I would cover my canvases in tape, and I would combine Sharpies and watercolor and India ink into a single piece.
I enjoyed throughout my upbringing the freedom to do as I liked, to allow life to bring me to what would become my greatest passions. I learned to learn on my own and through the people around me. I love tennis, I love origami, I love calligraphy, I love art. I love this freedom to do what I love.
Thank you, Mom and Dad, for letting me find the keys and letting me choose which doors to open and which doors to close, for trusting in the future and supporting all my aspirations.
Thank you Mom and Dad for giving a kid the freedom to choose. I love you.