While Kid Flash is somewhat disappointed, I am ecstatic and relieved that there are no soccer games this weekend that we need to escort our boys to. Our weekdays and weekends seem to be consumed by soccer, amidst other activities and commitments. As of late, my husband and I have been evaluating many of our (including the boys’) extracurricular activities to determine their value and worth. When it comes to soccer, here is what we have calculated for the past 9 months:
● $700 – 2 seasons of competitive, league soccer for Junior
● $200 – 1 season of developmental soccer for Kid Flash
● $350 – Food/Hotel/Travel for weekend soccer tournament for Junior
● $250 – Soccer accessories and equipment for Junior and Kid Flash
I certainly support children participating in organized sports. It is a great way to learn teamwork, how to compete and how to win or lose. But, $1500 for a 6 and 8 year old to play soccer? That doesn’t even include the cost of gas for the approximately 50 mile roundtrip drive to/from soccer practices 4 days/week, cost of gas to travel to/from weekend games (which are typically out of town) or the time we spend traveling to/from soccer practices and games (which is invaluable, as far as I am concerned). Not to mention that the recreational soccer league is only $45 per season in our area. 😉 Is it worth it?
As a mom, of course I want my boys to be successful, well-rounded and exposed to a myriad of opportunities. But, at what expense? My boys can barely make it home from practice each day without falling asleep in the car. Thankfully, homework is completed at their after school program, but they still have to eat dinner and shower when we get home. And, their little bodies are just exhausted. I wonder if they could not experience the same level of success and well-roundedness by just going outside to play in our backyard, which is completely free AND offers them the opportunity to create, dream and explore. Playing in the backyard allows my boys to:
● exercise & compete – they play baseball, basketball, football, soccer and ride their bikes
● explore & create – there is plenty of dirt to rearrange, sticks to use for building, rocks to throw, bugs to torture and games to make up
● educate & conspire – they figure out ways to apply much of the science knowledge they receive in school
● exist & coexist – they learn how to negotiate and resolve conflict because an argument almost always ensues about what to do next and how long to
While I will not argue that there is some value in having our kids involved in extracurricular activities, these activities should in no way detract from invaluable time spent together as a family, distance us from each other or determine our worth as individuals. The overcommitted child/family has no more worth than the child/family that simply engages at the dinner table or gathers outside for free play after a busy day of school and work. We must all make our own decisions about how we spend our time, energy and money. Each family’s goals are different. My husband and I agree that the most important goal for our 3 boys (remember, we have an adult son in college) is that they believe in and serve Jesus Christ. We have determined that anything else they accomplish is just icing on the cake. So, ‘as for me and my house’, we have decided to let some things go, so we can focus on ‘keeping the main thing, the main thing’.
Until next time-
But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household,we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15 NIV)