prime ministerEvery September I ask my sons the same question: “do you want to play ice hockey?” Each time the answer comes back the same. “No.”

So I ask again, “are you sure?” And again they answer “no,” which makes me wonder if they’re not sure, or if they’re not into hockey. So we go through a dance half a dozen times before I’m assured that hockey is not part of the winter wish list of activities.

Fair enough. We roll through the rest and discuss gymnastics, karate, swimming, soccer, dance, art, and the rest of the offerings from local community centres.

Finding the right extra curricular activities was the biggest struggle I had as a parent of young kids. I wanted to make sure my boys had opportunity. I wanted to give them as wide a sphere of influence as possible to help them find their passion, achieve their dreams, and succeed.

“Ski jumping? Do you want to try ski jumping?, “ I’d ask before we would settle on soccer, dance, and swimming.

The conversation will soon change, but at the same time be very similar. Zacharie, only 9 years old, is entering Grade 4 this fall and soon electives will start to come his way. Will it be science and math or art and music, will it be sport or language, or something else entirely?

I don’t want to steer my kids into a specific direction, I want to follow their lead and give them the opportunity to make up their own mind. It’s why Zacharie is in dance. He said he wanted to be in soccer, but would spend the game on his back line break dancing to a beat in his own head. So we signed him for dance.

beat boys

My son may say he wants to be in art and music, but if he keeps loving math and nature and science, perhaps some nudges and opportunity in that area will need to be made.

Listen to your kids, close no doors, open up as much opportunity as possible. That’s what parenting is about.

It’s why we opened an RESP for our boys soon after they were born. We asked friends and family to donate to the funds at birthdays and Christmas, and we set up regular payroll withdrawals too. Nothing fancy, we started at just $25 each paycheque and now, a decade later, have thousands saved.

I want to give my sons opportunity. We’ve watched the RESP grow and when I do the math on where it could be when they’re ready to graduate, I’m confident there will be enough there to allow my sons the chance to be whatever they want to be when they grow up.

How I miss the days when they wanted to be a superhero ninja firefighter.

Opening an RESP is one of the easiest best things you can do for your kids and Heritage Education Funds has a contest where you can win over $8000 in prizing to get things started.

The #MyLittleDreamer campaign calls for parents to submit 15-30 second video clips of their children sharing ideas about what they want to be when they grow up – for a chance to win great prizes, including a $5000 RESP contribution!

Caroline Rhea is a part of the campaign and stars in this fun commercial:

A Twitter Party on June 16 is all part of the launch, and Caroline will be on board.


Disclosure: This branded content presented by Heritage Education Funds.

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