First a little light comment on "What does that have to do with anything? We are not talking about what we like...". How long do you think you'll be able to use that line before your son develops some smart reply?
Now on to more serious matters that, being a parent myself, sometimes worry me (my daughter is only two so i still have a lot of time to worry about these things
Your son being four you can, of course, put your foot down and make your son go to practice. As parents we all understand that sometimes we must make our children do something they don't wish because in the long term its better for them.
The crux of the matter is: what if by making him go train you are inadvertently making him associate Aikido practice to something he would rather not do and in the long run causes him to leave Aikido when he is able to choose?
Guess I'm a little worried that my children won't want to practice Aikido when they are older, and that by making them go to practice we're, in some way, contributing to their dislike of the art.
Thank you for your column and the change for discuss these matters. Parenting is, in my view, always about balance.
I have all sorts of friends who were made to go to music lessons, dance lessons, etiquette lessons, etc when they were young. Virtually none of them wanted to go, all of them have said that they are now glad that their parents made them do it. Kids don't normally want to do the boring foundation stuff that can later let one really do and enjoy an activity. Video games are definitely a lot more fun. But the fact is, when they get older, they have jobs, families, etc. At that point they are too busy to take up new things and give them the time they deserve. I can't count the number of times I have heard someone say that they wish that they had kept up on some activity that they had started when they were young, especially musical instruments, but dancing as well. Anyway, it won't really matter about the Aikido... Most people don't do it and that applies to the kids of parents that do. If they love it they'll stay. Making them go now or not won't change that I don't believe.