My husband and I have made a deliberate and decisive decision to lead our family in an alternative lifestyle. It is one that does not go with the flow of our community. It seems so unorthodox and crazy to some but…we’ve decided to make family time a priority.
You make think I’m being dramatic but I am shocked almost daily by the snarky remarks, wild-eyed looks, and behind-the-back whispers I deal with. No one acts this way when I say we are making family a priority. They do this when we don’t over book our schedule. They do this when we don’t allow our kids to commit to 5-night-a-week activities.
We live in a high-functioning, highly competitive community/society. Kids are told they have to be specialized experts in particular activities by 5th grade. Parents are led to believe that their child will never “make it” in the world if they aren’t coached by the best and taking private lessons three times a week.
I have no judgment or ill-will for families that commit their kids to activities every night. If they have talked about it as a family, have decided that it works for them, the kids aren’t suffering, and everyone is happy about it – GREAT! We have talked about it as a family though and decided that it doesn’t work for us.
Our kids do participate in activities. They both play sports. They simply play recreational. Seth played baseball last year. He played flag football in the fall and basketball in the winter. Shelby danced for several years and played soccer this spring. We chose not to do the elite, traveling, dynamo, champ leagues though and for some reason, that boggles the minds of some people. I often hear comments like, “Wow! You waited until your daughter was eight to play soccer? You really put her behind the 8 ball!” or “How do expect your son to play football in high school if he’s not doing it now?” or “You’re taking a break from dance? How will she ever make the high school dance team?”
I always want to laugh when I hear these statements/questions because these people have assumed that my kids already know that they want these things or that I want these things for my kids.
Here’s what I want for my kids:
- I want them to know and love Jesus.
- I want them to be healthy.
- I want them to know that their dad and I love them and always have their best interest at heart.
- I want them to know that our family is safe and supportive.
Other things, like being a sport hero or dance champion or the star of the school play or the president of the student council, will fall into place naturally. We will allow them to try activities. We will support the ones they enjoy and not force them to push forward with the ones they don’t. But most of all, we will do everything we can for them to know who they are in our family and who they are in Christ.