• Hamban

    Great article. My son is only 2 but he seems to be surprisingly coordinated and strong such that I wonder of he might have some athletic talent. He just started playing 3- yr old soccer, and is doing noticeably well. Of course, I have zero interest in sports and am somewhat worried as to how I’ll be able to support and nurture any such skill. Lol, it would probably be easier for me if he was good at math or piano. In all honesty though, I do wish more Asian parents would encourage and support their kids in more athletic endeavors (assuming the kid is interested). For many Asian kids, especially Asian boys, I think the value (fitness, teamwork, and sportsmanlike competitiveness) will pay off far more on a kid’s self confidence and happiness than grinding away at piano/violin or other such traditional Asian extra curricular activities.

  • LTE2

    “Lol, it would probably be easier for me if he was good at math or piano”

    Both aid in conceptual thinking, a quality far more important than competitiveness or teamwork.

  • http://www.8asians.com/author/ancientone95131/ jeffat8asians

    Thanks – glad you enjoyed the article.

    There is no reason a kid can’t do both music and sports – I did both when I was in high school, and all of my kids did both to some degree. Music, particularly when you play in a group, can build self-confidence, happiness, and teamwork. I really miss playing music in a group.

    Kids have a way of changing your plans for them. I wish my kids would have continued more in music (I was really annoyed when my oldest son dropped out of music right when he was about to join the local youth symphony). After spending much time coaching volleyball, my two oldest didn’t do volleyball in high school, and the youngest is undecided. I coached them the least on running, and that’s where my youngest two put in their efforts. Still, I am happy how what they have learned from sports, particularly my sons. They have learned team work, but also (especially from running), have learned a lot about fitness, nutrition, self-discipline, and how to work hard to get results.

    You don’t have to be athletic to support your son’s sports endeavors – you don’t have to coach a team either (it’s a huge time commitment). Just be willing to take him to games and watch them (they actually appreciate that) without getting out of control. Also be alert to how a team works and make sure your son doesn’t get on one that has a poisonous atmosphere (too many of those out there). Kids would rather play and lose rather than win and never play.

  • http://www.8asians.com/author/ancientone95131/ jeffat8asians

    I wouldn’t underestimate that value of learning teamwork. A superstar performer can mess up a team (whether in sports or on a work or other project) because he or she doesn’t or won’t work as a team with others.

  • LTE2

    “I wouldn’t underestimate that value of learning teamwork.”
    I wouldn’t either but nothing happens until the guy with the idea speaks.
    When you mentioned teamwork I thought of this clip:
    I hope you were a bit nicer.

  • Baakus

    Bingo. Just because your kid probably won’t become a pro athlete (since only about 0.1% of the population will be able to do that) doesn’t mean that sports is a pointless endeavour.

    Sports, especially team sports, at the youth level are crucial at teaching young men how to assert themselves, withstand pressure and criticism, and navigate themselves in a testosterone-fuelled world.

    I played a violent team sport in high school, and I was not any good at it. But I stuck with it and made a lot of good friends, and best of all, I learned how to not back down from a challenge.

  • Hamban

    Thanks Baakus, Jeff and LTE.

    I’d agree that music and academics/math are very important aspects of a child’s development and that they can facilitate invaluable mental processes and life skills that are invaluable. My concern is that many Asian parents have historically overemphasized (in my opinion) music and math and virtually ignored athletics and other activities and have did valued the skills and life experiences that sports can bring.

    I’m sure we all know countless examples of the stereotypical Asian math whiz who is also an accomplished classical musician. But that same math whiz ia also painfully shy, has little social presence or leadership skills and can seem immature in many respects. Certainly sports/athletics isn’t a cure all, but I can’t help but wonder if some de-emphasis on piano and greater attention on baseball might have made the math whiz a little more well adjusted and able to express their great ideas in a way that people can relate to and feel inspired from. My parents forced my brother and I to play piano for 12 years each; we were okay at it but certainly not exceptional musicians. While I can still play a bit today, I think that 5 years probably would have been plenty.

    Jeff – thanks for the pointers on what kind of sports and teams to look out for and how to participate. We’ll see how he little guy develops, but right now it seems like soccer is his thing.

  • LTE2

    “Certainly sports/athletics isn’t a cure all,”
    “We’ll see how he little guy develops, but right now it seems like soccer is his thing..”

    I did sports on a limited basis when I was younger. When I stopped, I never missed it.
    With sports comes the time you’ll be a has been, a thinker is so until the day he or she dies (unless they enter politics which at that point, all thinking stops).
    If your kid enjoys soccer, let him have fun. If it becomes joyless labor, let him quit.

  • Alice Zindagi Pua

    It’s about time Asian kids had someone in sports to look up to. People tend to imprint on those who look like them;
    this is all fine and dandy for white kids, who readily see themselves
    portrayed as doctors and lawyers and
    athletes. All too often Asian children are relegated to being doctors
    and nothing more, which (while a fine profession) is a pretty limited
    scope. Believe it or not, but some Asian kids want to play ball; it’s
    hard to motivate yourself to rise above and beyond when everyone tells
    you that Asians just don’t do that, so get back in your neat little rice
    paper box, please. We need more Asian male role models:


  • Hamban

    Agreed. If the choice is between being a Thinker and a Bruce Springsteen “Glory Days” ex-jock, then Thinker wins hands down. Like all parents though, I’m probably guilty of wanting everything good for my kid. Would be wonderful if they my boy were able someday to have the intellect of a Thinker and the confidence and competitiveness of an Athelete.

    Such aspirations are probably a universal yearning among many parents of all backgrounds, but I think the distinct Asian American spin is that Asian’s often have to deal with the stereotype that we are technically competent but lack the confidence, teamwork, self-promotion and social skills to be “leaders.” So that is where I think pulling back some on music and adding a bit more in athletics can help.

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