Do you ever feel like the members of your family operate completely separate from one another? As a father of 4, I often feel that we simply run from one place to the other never having time to sit down and be a family. There just seems to be no time for my family to be together these days. However, I can recall a slower pace of life during my own childhood as I can still remember the place where I sat for regular family dinners. Unfortunately, the assigned seat at the kitchen table has now been replaced by a booth at Chick Fil A. It’s hard to comprehend, but research shows that the average family only spends 34 minutes together each day. That doesn’t even seem like a family.
From ballfields, band practice, class plays and gymnasiums it’s easy to get caught up in the rat race of doing. As I watch busyness transpire, it’s easy to see that we have simply allowed many of the good things in our lives to become the main thing. Athletics specifically has been an important part of my life, but I want you to know it should never be the only part of your life. Our children need us to be a family, operate as a family and make decisions as a family. The likelihood of our kids playing sport past the age of 18 is not very high. However, they probably have a family one day. So, what should be the greater focus while we have our children in the home? Building their athletic skill or modeling a healthy family unit?
I recently had a friend call me to ask about a travel baseball team for their young son. As we discussed the decision, he continued to talk about wanting to make the right decision for their son. I challenged him to not make a decision based solely on their son but based on what would be best for their entire family including the other siblings. While wanting to develop their athletic skill is a good thing, should it come at the cost of other skills they will need one day to be a great father or mother, husband or wife? With only so much room on the schedule, we must wisely discern what qualities we want to focus on developing and consider where the greatest return on investment lies. Will baseball practice or quality time as a family do a better job of developing them into a well-rounded adult?
Again, I’m not saying baseball is a bad thing, but I am encouraging you to take a timeout. Ask yourself if what you are doing is worth it? What is the return on investment? Does playing in hundreds of games, practicing 6 days a week, and traveling the country really make the difference you want in your child’s life or is it limiting your families time together? Have you abandoned vacations and weekend getaways for little league and AAU tournaments? I am not asking you to abandon the opportunity for your child to participate in athletics, but I am challenging you to thoroughly examine where the bulk of time is spent and whether that time is producing the qualities you hope your child will have when they leave your home.