Competitive, yes, I am competitive. I love sports, all sports. I love to watch my kids participate in sports and I love to cheer them on. I think sports are a great way to learn to work as a team, and to also learn discipline. I want everyone to know, I think sports are a good thing, and I am not questioning that! I think there are many life lessons to be learned from being part of a sports team. Although I do not think ALL life lessons can be learned from sports. My concern is, how much is too much.
Even though sports are a great way for kids to learn life lessons, are we spending too much time on sports and not enough time on life itself. In having four kids we limit our kids to how many sports they can do at a time. We try to let our kids pick their favorite sports, and make sure the younger kids don't participate in a after school sport at the same time the older kids are. For example, in the fall Alyssa who is a junior plays Volleyball and at times is a cheerleader. Ashton who is an 8th grader plays football, so both of them will have games during the week at night. So we have our younger two children play soccer in the spring when the older ones do not have evening activities. We value our family time. If our kids had games every night of the week, we would not have any family time, therefore we would not have any time to teach life lessons from home. I am beginning to wonder as I watch this movement of sports overtaking our American families, are we eroding the family by filling our time with sports?
I have been watching this problem for several years now, and it seems to be getting worse rather than better. America seems to be having the same problem with sports as we have with food. We take a good thing and over do it. We make a good thing for our bodies harmful to our bodies. Exercise is good, sports are good, exhaustion is not good, over stimulation is not good, and no time with our families is not good either. Just like overeating has caused problems in our society, I fear we are making the same mistake with our kids in sports.
I have also been watching kids who start playing on the pee wee teams starting in Kindergarten. I have found that most of the kids lose their enthusiasm for the sport by the time they are actually old enough to start competing. They tend to get burned out, and just want to rest. I have noticed they usually take a couple years off, then start to play and compete again. Are we as parents burning our kids out on sports? I think some of the exhaustion the kids have comes from pressure that certain parents put on their kids. We have all seen the parents in the stands at pee wee games yelling and screaming at their kids. Now there is a difference in loudly supporting and encouraging your child, and then there is screaming and yelling AT your child. Those children of course do not tend to enjoy the sport or the fun in it, they just feel the pressure to perform well.
Then of course there is the question of providing a balance in their lives. Some kids do not get to experience other interests in life for being so involved in sports. Do we give our kids the option to participate in other areas in school? Are we asking our kids if they want to continue spending so much time in sports over just everyday kid fun? I fear kids are missing out on truly getting to experience being a kid. Are we giving kids the time to play in the dirt? Time to play with other kids, time to use their imaginations? Are we making the kids play all through their summer vacation? Does your child want to play during summer vacation? Does my kid really enjoy playing, or do I really enjoy seeing them play. Do they want to spend all their time on this sport? These are all questions we as parents should consider. We as parents also have to consider that even if my child does want to spend all his or her time on sports, is it really in their benefit to do so. We have to consider if they are overly tired, or do they need to have a little more time to just play. We sometimes have to be the one that says even though they enjoy this sport, they need to also be taught to set limits not using all their time and effort for one thing.
As a christian parent I want to know why we as Christians parents have allowed sports to be played on Wednesdays and Sundays. You may say we didn't allow it, but we did! We haven't stopped it, therefore we allow it. If we as christian parents would say to our coaches, schools, traveling teams, whoever is calling the practices and making the schedules that your child will not be at practice or any games that are scheduled on a Wednesday or Sunday, then I assure you sports games would not be held on these days. I remember growing up (yeah that may have been a while :) our coaches knew, absolutely no games or practices would be playing on Wednesdays or Sundays. It could be that way again if Christians would take a stand.
These are all concerns I have had, and been dealing with while allowing my kids to participate in organized sports over the years. And again I am not downing sports, I am a concerned christian parent. Is the direction we are allowing sports to take our children the best way for them to go? I want to hear from you, how do you limit your kids activities, what are ways you keep a family balance? Do you value your family time, how do you make it a priority? HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH???