I’m not saying for one minute that everything about life ought to go back to the way it was in the Eisenhower administration. But I certainly remember that in my childhood, the basketball, baseball and football seasons barely overlapped. If you have children in sports today, however, you know that just one sport can become a year-round proposition. The competition has become so fierce, and the quest for winning so passionate, there’s no end to the amount of extra time your child can spend in training and competition. It’s easy for parents to get sucked into this vortex.
If you’re starting to feel the squeeze in your family, perhaps it’s time to discuss what sports is supposed to be all about in the lives of your children:
1. Character. Sports can be a life laboratory for learning about finishing strong, pushing beyond fatigue and becoming better than you thought you could be. A losing team can teach valuable lessons. Did I tell you I coached Little League two years in a row? Our record was 2-15. Both years. Talk about building character!
2. Relationships. For the rest of their lives, your children will be on teams of some kind—at work, at church, even as a family. Giving up your own agenda for the well-being of the team is a skill that gets better with practice, and sports is a great place to refine it.
3. Fun. It’s easy for some coaches and parents to forget this, but most kids participate in sports to have fun. When their athletic days are over, they ought to have fond memories—the type of memories I have when I look through the scrapbook my dad presented me to commemorate all those years of games and road trips. I wouldn’t give anything for my memories of playing baseball and basketball. Yeah, when it comes to sports, I guess I still like Ike.
Has sports gotten out of hand in your family? What would it take to rein it back in?
Pray that God’s true priorities would be reflected in the way you parent and train your children.