I have to say that I cringe a bit as I think of delving into this topic, because I know that people are very passionate about their opinions on this one. In fact, I think all of our family members and all of our friends have landed on the other side of this decision from where we sit. This is just where we're at. I say "we" because I talked this over with Mark before I sat down to write this post and I'll have him edit it when I'm done, to make sure that I've expressed this well.
I know. After that intro, I bet you all think I'm going to say that we're totally opposed to our kids doing sports.
|July 4th, and the annual game of flag football with Mark's side of the family.|
We are not convinced that sports would add enough value that it would be worth the cost to our family.
What we have observed- by watching friends and family- is that involvement in sports takes precious time away from things that we value. One thing that comes to mind right away is sitting down to eat dinner together as a family. We value that. Growing up, each of our families (Mark's and mine) ate together almost every single night- throughout all of our school years- with very few exceptions. That coming together at the end of the day, the connectedness, the space provided for conversation, discussion and questions-- that was significant for us as we grew up. We think it's important. (It took me years to realize that it was not the norm for most families; that many families ate at separate times or fixed their own individual meals or had the TV on the entire time they ate.)
Another thing that comes to mind is that as a family, we're bound together as a little community for these years and I'm not a fan of being split up for various activities. From what I see, when children are involved in sports it seems to divide the family. (Mom stays home with the little ones, or the parents divide and cover different children's practices or games, or Dad is still at work so Mom takes the kids and Dad meets up with them later.) It divides the family, and we don't want that.
-I think the level of involvement required for participation in sports is generally too taxing and demanding for a child. That's just my humble opinion. I think kids are getting run ragged being involved in so much and for so many hours and I think it's just too much.
-We did two sessions of dance classes for Ella at a local dance studio. Ella really enjoyed it, and that's why we did it for a season, but in the end it was just too difficult for me to manage the little girls and the boys while she was in class and- you know-- whatever benefit there was for Ella wasn't worth the challenges it brought for the rest of us (the girls had to skip their naps or get woken up, all of us missed quiet times, we were home later for dinner those nights and it generally lent itself to a hurried, frazzled evening.) Also- it was expensive! When you add in the cost of the class, the costumes for the performance, the performance fees, all of that?- it's a lot of money!
-Ella (and possibly Isaac) will be taking piano lessons this year. (But one of the benefits of that is that their teacher will come to us and do the lessons here. That's huge. It makes it so much more doable in my mind.)
-I didn't grow up being involved in sports, so that's probably a factor. (In middle school I did do one year of track and one year of volleyball, but that's it.)
-Mark would like the boys to play football at some point, and we may do that. Mark has fond memories of playing football as a boy. (Then again, his dad was the coach and he was able to be on the same team as his older brother, and it was a whole lot less of a time commitment.) Times have changed.
|In August, at the boys-only annual camp-out (once again, Mark's side of the family). My boys are gearing up for a game of wiffle ball with daddy, their uncles, cousins and grandpa.|
-It's not practical for Mark's schedule for us to do sports. He works almost every Saturday, so if we were to do the sports thing, he would miss any games on Saturdays. (I think that would be a lot of them, right?)
-I think that the physical element of sports is probably a very good thing- especially for boys. I don't deny that. I also think that it's valuable to learn teamwork, and to handle defeat well and to win well, too. There are other things like dedication and perseverance that can be built through sports. But I also think those qualities can be sought and taught in other venues.
-I will say, too- that Mark is more "for" sports than I am. He will emphasize that it's just not where we're at right now, at this season with our kids at their particular ages. (I, on the other hand- would probably be perfectly fine if we never ventured down that road.) But he's the boss. What he says goes. For now he thinks that it's not worth it, so here we are. Someday down the road, if Mark were to have Saturdays off and if we discovered a lower-commitment football team for the boys to be a part of? We're in. And I'll be the cheering-ist mom on the sideline. But I do think we'll be choosey, no matter what, holding to what we value.