Organized sports can do wonders for dads, moms, and kids alike. But some families get lost down the rabbit hole. So here’s a good question: Is recreational sports running your family life? It might be if you don’t remember the last time you got together with your best friends for a Saturday night barbecue. Or if your kids haven’t been able to attend their youth group at church in more than a month. Or if one parent – or both – spends more time (than not) ferrying various children to various practice sessions, games, and trips. Or if the last time you had a family dinner together was on a road trip… at a hamburger joint… in the drive-through… in a state you can’t remember the name of.
Recreational sports are great and can do a lot to enrich our lives. But it’s too easy to run into a “tail wagging the dog” scenario and miss that Junior’s practices, games, and travel schedule have taken over. If you find yourself saying, “Recreational sports is running my family life,” it’s time to remember that games are just one piece of an often complex family puzzle.
Sure, a lot of kids have a blast playing. And no one wants their child to be benched because they missed a practice. But it’s smart to be aware of the signs that show the cost is getting too high when it comes to a balanced and healthy family life.
Ask yourself the critical questions. Then make sure mom and dad are calling the shots when it comes to family, not someone else. [Tweet This]
- Are there too many demands on your time? If we’re not careful, we give away our family a piece at a time. The recreational sports piece can get to be huge. The point is: The coach, the team, and the other parents are not the ones in a position to demand anything.
- Are sports pushing other important commitments aside? The coach says, “You have to be at the soccer tournament Sunday morning because you made a commitment to this team!” Well, what about the commitment you made to provide a consistent spiritual community for your family? What about the commitment to provide a healthy balance between everything you care about?
- Do you ever eat dinner together as a family? Family mealtimes – especially dinner – are the premium venue for conversation, wisdom, questions, teachable moments, family devotions, training in manners, and so much more. [Tweet This]
- Are you always going somewhere (and not to the same places) as a family? Home is the nucleus of family life, and we miss out on the deep-rootedness of home when every evening is a carpool and every weekend is a travel team road trip.
- Has something fun and developmental turned into something too serious? “I don’t know if my kids have ever enjoyed a ‘pick-up’ game of anything,” Jesse said. “Do games always have to have uniforms, referees, bleachers, coaches, titles, and trophies?” We get Jesse’s point; too much is at stake. The point of a kid’s game is simply supposed to be fun, right? (see 7 Things Parents do to Make their Kids Hate Sports)
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Huddle Up Question
What is the most important thing to you about playing sports?