This I Believe

Landon - Wichita, Kansas
Entered on November 12, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

Duty to Teach

Alan Paton once said that “To give up the task of reforming society is to give up one’s responsibility as a free man.” From birth my family taught me how to play sports, how to play games, and how to do many other cultural activities. Without learning these I would not only have missed out on the fun from actually taking part in these, but I also would lack all the benefits that come from them. I believe in the responsibility of older people to teach younger kids how to play sports and other fun games and activities.

When I was fourteen years old, I started driving, albeit, not alone but with an adult, in order to accumulate the required driving time in order to finally get my driver’s license. My parents explained to me that if I wanted to drive, I had to pay for some of the gas I used, but with no allowance, that was nearly impossible. My parents convinced me to get a job at the East Branch of the YMCA in order to be able to pay for gas.

At first I did very little work for the YMCA; I worked one hour every Saturday in a program called Micro Sports. Micro Sports is a program for three to four year olds where YMCA employees try (I say try because they are after all, only three to four years old) to teach young kids the fundamentals of whatever sport is in season at the time. It usually starts out with some warm-ups, goes in to basic passing and shooting, defense, and then usually a game to end the ‘practice.’

I am now sixteen years old and have worked with many of the same kids for the past couple of years. Many of the three year olds I first worked with would cry every time they came to the field: now many of them are some of the better players, more outgoing, and happier kids. Some are now even playing in the actual sports’ leagues which I referee.

I now lead the Micro Sports program at the East Branch YMCA and I witness the outstanding effect it has on the children that participate. It makes them smarter, more outgoing, more physically fit by engaging them in physical exercise, and helps them to meet new friends. A parent told me that “although it might seem like you are herding sheep, it really helps the kids a lot. My son used to be too scared to even talk to other kids. Now he plays right in with the rest of them.” Because these children cannot teach themselves, I believe that older people, who can teach them, have the responsibility to do so.

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