As I slowed down for all the soccer traffic this Saturday morning, I remembered when our family was part of that same mass. Our entire Saturday seemed to revolve around meaningless outcomes of meaningless games coached by men who would have really no long-term meaning in our children’s lives. Of course, we didn’t think so then; we told ourselves that it was for teamwork, for learning competition, and for potential scholarships. But our children were sometimes as young as 5–and now looking back, I see how consumed we were with it. Don’t get me wrong- there is much redeeming value in sports, but it should not dictate your family time. As with everything, there is a moderation or balance that we need to prayerfully stay attuned to.
With an older perspective, it is now easy to see that our children would have been fine to wait to play later, to play less seasons, to have skipped more practices for family outings and church —and still succeeded at the levels they desired.
A welcome perspective in our home right now is that of a 41-year-old native Kenyan who is the headmaster of a Christian school our church helped to found in Africa. Winyo Christian Academy began in 1991 with 8 students and now has more than 320! Jacob is staying with us for a while, and he is the most humble, gentle, wise servant. We took him bowling for the first time (he LOVED it)… fed him grits (“very nice”)… and took him all over the Opryland Hotel. He continues to question the “whys” of the way Americans do things (not in a derogatory way, but in an endearing, inquisitive way in order that he may learn from it). His curious joy is contagious. He accurately perceives that not everything will translate culturally for his work, but he appreciates all things associated with learning.
We need to re-examine some of the things we do because we think we should, or because others are doing it, or because it is easier to say “yes” than to buck the system. Is (you-fill-in whatever activity) beneficial for your family right now ? We would be wise to look around and see what fruit, if any, is being borne out in our children. And there’s always NEXT season!