“Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.” Psalm 127:3
My husband and I are coaching softball for our girls this fall. While it’s fun and rewarding, it’s been SO EASY to forget what we promised ourselves we wouldn’t do….become like “those parents who are obsessed and all caught up in their kid’s extracurriculars”….. it’s so easy to say, “I would NEVER do that..” but we all know you should never say never! Now that we are in it, it is something we constantly think about and struggle with!
I regret a lot of time I spent playing sports growing up. Don’t get me wrong; I have many great memories with my teammates for sure. And it was fun, up to a certain point. But the late nights, the missed family gatherings, the constant pressure from coaches and parents to be a “perfect player” and to never make a mistake is a lot for a child, a teen, or any person to take. Now that I’m on the other side of the fence, I struggle with trying to see the point in why we put so much pressure on our children to play sports.
I know sports are fun and teach hard work and respect. But are we willing to spend extended time at a ball field or a gym, away from home? Away from our family unit? Are we willing to skip family dinner time and constantly “pick something up on the way”? Always running late and putting extra and unnecessary stress on our kids? Rushing through homework, or worse, staying up late and sacrificing sleep (<—the MOST IMPORTANT earthly thing a child needs to function in life….).
Why do we think this is ok?
Growing up, one of my favorite memories was the anticipation of my dad coming home from driving the bus in the evening. My mom would be in the kitchen, sometimes listening to music or the tv. I would go inside and help set the table, watch her cook, talk to her, and laugh with my sisters. When my dad came home, and we all sat at the table- we were all together, as a unit, talking and laughing together. Life was good and “simple”; looking back, it meant the world to me: comfort, stability, and HOME.
As I started my own family, one of my biggest priorities was to eat dinner together at the table. However, as the kids get older, it’s becoming harder. Right now, we have games twice a week. I know of other families that are gone from their homes every night of the week! And I’m wondering, why are we doing this to ourselves? I can honestly tell you that many nights my kids are begging not to even go to the games. All they want is to be home with their family, playing games and chatting. And again, I’m wondering, why? Why are we making it such a big deal to be away from this perfect gift that God intended for us to treasure?
My conclusion, and my answer to my own question, is this; be cautious about the time you spend away from your family. Be leery of things that separate you from one another. Be mindful of the fact that your children want nothing more than your time, your love, and YOU.
You are the parent, and only you can set the boundaries for your family. Do not let outside influences alter the togetherness that God so specially crafted for families. Do not let the evil one come between you, your spouse, and your children. He wants nothing more than to ruin the family: separate them, split them, tear them apart, and make each person suffer for the rest of their lives. Sister, if you are struggling with this like I am, I advise you to prayerfully bring your activities and busyness before the Lord for direction and obey what He says.
Mama, it’s ok to stand up for what your heart is aching for togetherness, peace, and love for you and the ones you love the most! It is ok to be different and make your family a priority. Don’t let society make you feel like you have to keep up with its “game.” You cannot get this time back- no matter how hard you pray, wish, or want. You will never get this time back with your children. Please don’t waste it; cherish every second!
This is something I, myself, need to work on a lot. And I’ll be praying for you too, friend. That your family can come together and stay whole, that your family can spend more time together in love, and that your family can open their hearts to the Holy Spirit so you may know God’s perfect plan for you!
Kelsey Stewart & the Help Club for Moms Team