Monday, July 17, 2006

Thoughts About JustMe's Post

I was laying in bed thinking about my friend's recent post about overscheduling kids last night ( It occured to me that there are a lot of reasons that parents sign their children up for activities- Here's a few I came up with:

1. Genuine expressed desire by the child
2. Talent recognized by a parent, that the parent wants the child to increase
3. An opportunity to use the activity as a babysitter/daycare
4. To encourage exercise and cultivate a life long exercise hobby
5. To expose a child to other children that a parent approves of
6. Because, all of the cool kids are doing it.... (this could stem from child or parent...)
7. Because other parents peer pressure a parent to do it or peer pressure from a child's friend
8. To learn sportsmanship, teamwork, and discipline
9. To increase a child's self-confidence - and encourage him/her towards pursuing success in something they enjoy
10. Encouraging a family to pull together in support of individual member's pursuits

On the flip side, here are a few reasons one might give for NOT choosing to participate:

1. Spending 2-3 hours, 2-3 nights a week attending practices or games- or in the car driving to one or the other
2. Losing valuable family time, particularly the opportunity to eat around the dinner table on above mentioned nights
3. Spending much-more-than-budgeted-for money on fast food - totally cancelling out the above mentioned exercise benefits
4. Losing weekends to games, and feeling guilty for skipping out on games for family activities
5. Teaching a child that the entire family's time revolves around their chosen activities, and thus promoting self-centeredness
6. Risking a child's self-confidence, when put with a team that isn't respectful and discouraging towards weaker members
7. Spending the money on participation fees, equipment, special shoes or uniforms, and end of season awards

Well, I wonder if that will spark some controversy..... I have actually experienced almost all of these 17 "reasons" (except perhaps the natural talent..... I don't really think there will be any sports scholarships in this family, but you never know!)

Long story short, I think the biggest moral to my post is, think about your commitments of time carefully. Think about what you want your children to value, how you want their time consumed. There are so many good reasons to pursue extra-curricular activities, but, I personally, never want to lose my quality of life to them. As Heather commented, I want my children to have the time to make their own choices, with family members and friends, that isn't part of a regimented schedule. I want our family to be able to be spontaneous, to take off for a weekend and not be constrained to the game/practice schedule of numerous activities. I want my kids to participate in something that brings more smiles than whines, more feelings of success than feelings of failure. And, I know those activities can be rare, so, as for me and my family, I hope we look at the big picture with each activity application we submit...... we haven't always been successful in what we've chosen in the past, and perhaps we've missed out on activities that could have seen Brayden and Mikayla "delighting in them". As the kids grow older and the time "kids just being kids" grows shorter, all I can do is hope we do what's best for them. I echo JustMe's parting sentiments....

"All I want is to someday look my children in the eye and say, 'I didn't do it perfectly but I did it the best I could, and I did it all because I love you so much.' "

1 comment:

HollieHobbie said...

Wow that was Awesome, Steph! Thanks for taking the time to think up that post and share. Emma did soccer for 3 seasons and last season she just wasn't that enthusiastic about it, but I still had her finish the season because she signed up for it and I don't want her to quit something just because she doesn't feel like practicing. Anyways, all that to say as far as right now, she isn't doing soccer next season...phew!
They'll both do their dance, which they love. And Emma is loving golf, but that is something she can do with Pete, so I am liking the schedule we have going as of right now.
It is so easy to get overscheduled even for the right reasons.