Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Are we are selling our kids out for “the American dream”?

Several weeks back I was talking to a fellow soccer mom and she mentioned her son also plays winter ball {baseball} and her daughter dances and plays soccer as well, AND they both do some kung-fu thing. Naturally, I asked … “So, when do you eat dinner together as a family?”

She looked at me like I was from some far away planet and answered “We don’t.”

I once heard Kevin Leman talk about how very much children want to be part of a family. Not that they want a mom and a dad, but that they want to be a part of it. If mom and dad are embracing {or worse, KISSING!} in the kitchen, no doubt little jr. will find his way smack in the middle of that in a matter of seconds. Why? They want THE family.

Somewhere along the lines enrolling our children in every extra-curricular activity possible became the “cool” thing to do. Parents are split between children going this way and that. We keep our children so busy that even if we wanted to, there is simply no time to truly develop a sense of family within them.

They want mom and dad sitting on the living room floor passionate about THEM more than they want to win the next soccer game. What are we teaching our children, this generation? What are our priorities? And why do we keep them so “involved”? So … BUSY?

Frankly, we are teaching them that their team, their class, their whatever is more important than family, then God, then church. I think someday … possibly when they are grown, and the houses are empty, these decisions, these uncertain priorities, these pushes for our children to have “opportunities” will be regretted. What a sad day that will be.

I know you’re thinking I am hypercritic. I AM a sports mom.

We are Yankee fans; we love bball playoffs, and watching our boys play. We believe there are lessons to be learned on a team, on a field. We believe in following passions, whether that is dance or thriving in the discipline of martial arts. But we also believe in boundaries. For the children in our home, they will get to choose one extra-curricular activity a year. They will understand the place it holds in the scheme of things and where it stands in our family priorities. They will be supported and cheered on and encouraged. But at the end of it all, we believe they will grow stronger in our unity as a family and we pray they will whole heartedly come to value the things we do. And that value has nothing to do with a sport or band practice.

It is OUR job, as their parents to teach them the things we want them to learn, to understand, to find passion in. And that’s not something we can do in the time it takes to drive them back and forth between practices. We are called to much more.

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