Baseball, soccer, and gymnastics make up many afternoons and evenings in our house. It would seem that we enjoy the sports-scene, and that is very true. I love watching my kids run around a baseball field, learn to get better at soccer, and take on the challenge of a new gymnastics routine. However, I also know there are limits to every good thing. There is a place we can get into with extracurricular activities that begin to push us beyond a healthy pace.
Here are the Cliff family guardrails to help keep these outside interests in proper perspective:
The kids have to enjoy it. Yes, they are forced to finish what they commit to. Yes, they are forced to attend practices. No, I do not force them to sign-up each season. I want my kids to enjoy the experience, and if they are only doing it because I like them to do, then it won’t last. The fun has to be there for it to really work.
They have to do something extracurricular. While I don’t require them to do one thing over another, I do require them to do something outside of the normal. It could be sports, music, or art classes. We’ve had them involved in each of those at one time or another.
There is an end date in view. Baseball is a spring sport. It is not a fall sport for our family. Soccer is 10 weeks long, not 25 weeks long for our family. Granted, my kids aren’t yet teenagers, but we work hard to make sure the experience has a clear ending time.
All normal rules apply. They need to make wise choices, they should treat others the way they wanted to be treated, and they will use the experience to show Christs love in a practical way. Extracurricular isn’t an escape from reality, it’s a new arena to practice all that life expects from us.
Give our best. Giving your very best involves practicing, trying hard, and never giving up when things get tough. In fact, that’s probably why I lean so strongly towards competitive sports. There is something to working together as a team to accomplish a goal that I love my kids to be involved with.
Of course, there are always exceptions. These are just some healthy ways we keep all that we do in the right perspective. We are a family FIRST, we are not baseball players first. We are a family FIRST, we are not slaves to gymnastics practice. We are a family FIRST, we are not victims of the soccer schedule.
How do you keep things healthy for your kids in these busy seasons?