Growing up I did a lot of activities from a young age. 4-H, ballet, t-ball then softball, swim team, just to name a few. It was full of healthy competition and we wanted to be good at things but we always knew that it was mainly just for fun, exercise, and character development. None of us were going on to be professionals.
My kids are growing up in a world where they can start just about any activity by the time they leave the womb. At least it feels that way sometimes. There’s story time at the library, mommy and me swim, music for moms, babies and tots at coffee shops, soccer/football/baseball/cheer leading/ leagues for all ages, music lessons, foreign language class, and countless apps and programs to get your 3 year old to read. Don’t get me wrong I’m excited to do fun activities with my kids (and have done some of those listed) and I want them to learn and be well rounded but not at the expense of my sanity or theirs. We are so competitive with our kids and what they can and can’t do that we sometimes forget to just let them be kids. We steal the joy right out of childhood when we’re in constant competition with one another and running from one activity to the next.
I took Isaac to a soccer class today through the parks and recreation. It’s the only thing we can afford to do around here because it’s all so stinking expensive. It’s only his 3rd class and he loves it. It’s nothing special, they kick the ball, run laps, try to kick a few goals and we head home. Just right for a 3 year old. While I was there I noticed this sign on the wall and couldn’t resist taking a picture.
My first thought was “We REALLY need to post signs about this stuff?!” Good grief. I wish that we were all mature enough to keep these things in mind but I have seen too many times to count that we do indeed need reminders of these things when parents and then the players get out of hand. Once I saw a mom throw a shoe at a ref and yes it was funny but let’s try and keep our shoes on people.
So if you have kids who play any sport or do any activity, keep these things in mind. I know the older mine get the more I’ll have to do the same. And believe me, the mama bear in me gets pretty furious if I think my kid is getting cheated or being mistreated so I have to really keep my hot head in line and my shoes on when that happens.
As a parent I’m trying to raise my children to become a man and woman of great character, but if I don’t display what that looks like for them, or do it selectively, I’m giving them the short end of the stick. It’s a hard job for sure and I mess it up every single day but I hope that I can create an environment where they can live, learn, play and find joy in the game (whatever it might be) even if they win or lose, get cheated or just plain stink at it.