Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Argument for Slacking

"Hello, my name is Emily and my kids don't play soccer."

This time of year (although a lot of people's summer "vacation" is indistinguishable) the back-to-school buzz of sports teams and dance classes and enrichment activities is deafening. At every season change, I feel a teensy bit of pull to encourage my boys to try something new or sign up Number 4 for something, anything. 

I never get used to the look on people's faces when I tell them our boys only participate in one (maybe 2 depending on driving-practice-fee commitment) extracurricular activity at a time. Number 1 plays regular, non-super-ultra competitive basketball. Number 2 focuses on the Fall school musical and after-school, at-the-school chess club in the Spring. Numbers 3 and 4 haven't ever been involved in anything more organized that a water gun fight or big brother vs. little brother trampoline wrestling match.

I'm not anti-ballet, anti-soccer or anti-karate, just anti-activities to the exclusion of all else. I am grateful now that I took ballet lessons (only ballet lessons) my whole childhood. And I enjoyed it, 3 or 4 hours a week.

This is what works for our family. There is enough chaos around here without taking the show on the road any more than necessary. We prefer to have extra time to do something or nothing together. We'd rather spend time together going to the zoo or a ballgame. We can visit with grandparents and out of town family and friends without working around 4 different practice/game schedules. St. Joel and I have time to spend with each other and with our own friends. 

Under-scheduled may not be ideal plan for everyone, but it is for us. Our kids are happy and healthy. We are happy and unfrazzled. I just wonder how many parents realize they have a choice?

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LuEllen said...

Thanks....I needed to hear this today. I am struggling. How do you tell your kids no? My two little ones are begging to play soccer. Sign up is Saturday. How do you explain to them that MOM just doesn't want to commit to an hour practice each week and two Saturday morning games? Do I try to make them understand or just say no and let the fuss-fest begin?

Audra Caldwell said...

Love this! And Completly AGREE!! So far we have decided to keep out of all organized sports until "you start school". So far that means we only have one in sports. And only one sport at a time... However, b/c of our age rule we only have one boy old enough for extras. I am curious to hear how you girls handle the chaos with multiple kids. I have 3 boys 6, 4, and 3... and get the cold sweats just thinking about what it will be like in years to come. :) Any advice is appreciated!! :)

ememby said...

So happy to read this - I finally relented and signed my five-year-old up for soccer this fall but some friends have been doing organized activities with their kids since they were babies and I would just rather have the freedom to do what we wanted. But with his starting school, I thought a little soccer coaching and discipline couldn't hurt :) I'm sure we'll start sooner for the younger one since he'll want to be like his big brother.


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