As the mom of two girls, I have seen families get so wrapped up in whatever activity or sport their kids were in so that it seems to consume their lives. I always wondered if it was the kids who wanted to keep going and achieving and reaching new heights or if it was the parents. My own girls took dance and gymnastics and ice skating, but they wanted to play and have free time to go to the park and have friends over and watch SpongeBob too; my girls never got so into something that it was all they wanted. I am not sure that I would think it was healthy if they had.
Katie and Eric Knox’s daughter, Devon is a gymnastics prodigy set for the Olympics when the violent, unexplained death of someone in their gymnastics community rocks this devoted group. We see the true colors of this group with their wicked, devious, calculating alliances and rumor spreading, the way they will turn on each other so they or their children can get ahead in the gymnastics world provides an interesting perspective on modern society and how we are raising our children.
I loved this book for the view it provided on how we are raising our children, the values we are teaching them, not only in gymnastics. When I was a kid, I took dance classes and there was a small “team” of dancers that competed. Now the competition is the main event. It’s not enough to get some exercise and learn poise and grace, you need to be competitive or there is really no place for you in today’s dance or gymnastics studios. Families spend entire weekends traveling all over for competitions. It’s the same with sports. We know families that spend the entire weekend, almost every weekend of the year, either on the field or rink or traveling to an event; they spend several nights a week at practices. I definitely think sports are a great thing and teach kids team work and how to work at something and get better at it and that persistence pays off, but I think we as parents need to also teach our kids BALANCE. Some weekends can be spent on activities, but some weekends should be spent with extended family, or with the whole family pulling together to do a project around the house or volunteering or just traveling for pleasure to see something, or heck, just sitting on the couch watching TV together.
I give this book 5/5 stars because I am glad that there is a book addressing these issues and I hope more parents read it and it makes them think about how they are raising their kids.