I love to hike. Sometimes i am successful in encouraging my family to go with me. When Em was about 4, we made a big fuss one day that we were going to go HIKING and isn't that GREAT and what FUN it will be. With the beautiful enthusiasm of a child, Em was really pumped. We got about a quarter mile from the car when Em says "This hiking is a lot like walking."
I can't fool her for a minute.
This summer i forced her to go for a short hike with me. Because i can still force her to do a few things and i think it's good for her. She kvetched and moaned the whole gentle 2 miles up to a small lake. "I HATE hiking," she told me. "This SUCKS," she said. "My feet HURT!"
We finally made it to the lake, and we sat down on a log next to the water to eat our well-earned meal. A few minutes later this little chap showed up to help Em with her sandwich. While the little guy was nibbling directly from her hand, she turned to me, her face shining with happiness and said, "This is the COOLEST thing that has ever happened to me."
She was even a little sheepish on the way down about all her bitching on the way up.
The reason that i am telling this little story is that i struggle with how much i should push her to do things, with her inertia pulling her the other way. She has an opportunity to go to Japan next April with her Japanese class. She called me from school to beg me to tell the teacher that she couldn't go. Many things that i think she should do, like play a sport, or join a club, or invite a friend over, i don't force upon her. I am going to put my large foot down about this trip, and if gentle persuasion doesn't work, force her to go. (There are two reasons why she doesn't want to go, one is that an internet friend might be here for a day in April, and she doesn't want to miss it. The other reason is that she is scared of going to Japan and trying to speak Japanese with real Japanese people.)
But maybe going to Japan will turn out to be the coolest thing that has ever happened to her.