Raising kids is tough. I struggle all the time worrying about whether or not I’m missing opportunities to impact Eli’s life. After work, sometimes I’ll do nothing but veg out, and think, “I should probably take this time to do something amazing with him.” Or, I worry about missing seasons of sports thinking how he may “get behind” the other kids. What’s difficult is that there is no instruction book for what’s right, and one parent’s perspective can differ greatly from another.
Part of being a good father, husband, employee, and person is learning to have balance in life. I think too often we are pushed to center our lives around our kids. Eli likes activities. If given the chance to do it, he will want to play soccer…and baseball…and basketball…swimming…cub scouts…gymnastics…lacrosse…dancing…wrestling…tennis…and more. Yikes…that’s a lot! Even doing just a handful of these will keep us driving back and forth from one activity to another most nights of the week. And we just have ONE child. I can only imagine what it would be like when you have multiple kids with busy schedules. As parents we try very hard to make sure Eli is not over-scheduled. We have a loose rule that he can only be involved in one sport at a time. If he wants to play baseball, that’s great…but he has to stop gymnastics.
I think the difficulty lies in wanting your child to have every opportunity to maximize their potential. If they are physically gifted…you WANT to give them every chance to do their best. If they are academically gifted…you WANT to do everything you can to help that grow. We would be slighting our kids if we DIDN’T give them opportunities to grow if there is an area they are gifted and interested in. The question is…how can you do that and maintain balance in life?
I think it’s important to figure out what’s the point of being a kid? Is it to train to become a professional athlete? Is it to become a genius? Let’s be honest…statistically speaking, (according to the interwebs) if 100 people read this article, around 10 will have a kid that goes on to play sports at college. And out of 100 people, 0 will have kids that play professionally. But out of 100 kids…ALL of them will become adults…and CLOSE to all of them will be married and have kids. So I think it makes sense to focus the majority of our energy on developing these areas.
- how to be a husband/wife
- how to be a father/mother
- how to be responsible with money
- how to love God
- how to make friends
- how to love others
One of the dangers in putting TOO much of your time and energy into kid’s activities is that the rest of your life can suffer because of it…things like your marriage relationship, your personal health and well being, and your ability to impact other people with your life. With no margin left in life, it can be easy for these things to fall by the wayside.
I definitely do not have this mastered. And I’m not totally sure the ways I’ve tried to balance life IS what’s best. But I think it’s something that is important to think about and make sure to keep in mind.
My challenge to you:
Don’t let your kids activities dominate your life. Make sure to keep a balance. Don’t neglect nurturing an interest or talent they have in something, but make sure the push to become great at an activity doesn’t take precedence over the push to become great at becoming an adult.