Kohn's article discusses the comparison between middle class and lower class child rearing strategies, and how the parents get their children involved in extracurricular activities, and for what reasons. When we are looking at the activities we involve our children in it is important to note if these engage the child's curiosity and creativity, or if they are mostly submissive to adult authority. Most things that parents involve their students in are authorized by adults. While having some of these groups can be okay, it is important that children are able to learn how to question why things are the way they are, and what purpose do they have. While this may seem to be disobedient, often it is an opportunity to learn something new. I have come across a lot of this in my own experience of working with children. It is often times easy for adults to try and take control a group of children with rules and authoritative activities, but it keeps us from learning and allowing them to learn as well.
One of the example scenarios that Kohn mentions in the article was a lower class family living together. The daughter was making spaghetti and brought it over to the bed and dipped bread in it. She gave some to her brother as well. The children were yelled at and told to go in the kitchen. The children missed out on an important lesson on why they are not allowed to eat on a bed, and the adult being authoritative missed out on finding out that the older sister was doing nothing but trying to share with her younger brother. A situation that could have turned into a perfect learning experience, and family shared moment was taken away by adult authority.
Programs that allow youth to be involved, and keep a communication open with their adults are able to have so many more enriched learning and life experiences. There is creativity involved as well because there is no fear of getting into trouble, and more positive relationships are born.
A program that I would like to get involved in is called Girls on the Run, where girls get together and do activities that involve running, but also enhance self esteem and promote self confidence. A program like this has limited adult authority, there are adults present but they are there to support the girls and their goals. As well these adults help the girls with issues they are dealing with including bullying, or other pressures of youth. This program not only promotes healthy lifestyles, positive body image, and self esteem, it also lets girls know that they matter and are important.