It is that time of year again...with the start of school comes all the extra-curricular activities. I am trying to really weigh out what works best for our family, and what is best for each individual child. This past year each child was able to participate in a few different things and I felt like we were not as over-scheduled as we have been in the past. Each year, it changes and I really want to be deliberate in what I "sign up" for. Sometimes, you sign up ahead of time for this and that and before you know it, an entire season is spent in the car and all other family activities come to a halt.
As I was deciding what we want to participate in this year I went back and read one of my all-time favorite General Conference Talks, "Good, Better, Best" given by Elder Dallin H. Oaks.
"Team Sports and tech toys like video games and the Internet are already winning away the time of our children and youth...some young men and women are skipping church youth activities or cutting family time to participate in soccer leagues or pursue various entertainments."
"The amount of children-and-parent time absorbed in the good activities of private lessons, team sports, and other school and club activities also needs to be carefully regulated. Otherwise children will be over scheduled and parents will be frazzled and frustrated."
Family experts have warned against what they call “the overscheduling of children.” In the last generation children are far busier and families spend far less time together. Among many measures of this disturbing trend are the reports that structured sports time has doubled, but children’s free time has declined by 12 hours per week, and unstructured outdoor activities have fallen by 50 percent.2
I really want to make sure we are getting all the basic MOST IMPORTANT things in....family prayer, family scripture study, family home evening, and spending time together having fun. These are the things that I know will bring long term success and happiness.
Then I have to consider the talents and needs of each child. During different seasons, "cutting back" has meant different things. Now that we don't have a newborn, I feel more free to run here and there. Some kids are just not interested in structured sports as much as others and I feel like that is okay. I think our culture pushes that they "must" do these activities. However, I often think they get more exercise, use their imaginations more, and learn how to interact with others more by running around outside after school.
The other side of the coin I was discussing just the other day with my sister-in-law. You want the child to have a set of skills, talents, things that make them feel confident and like they can participate with other children. It is a good feeling to know that they have mastered a goal or worked hard to learn various skills. Sports can keep many kids out of trouble and a sense of purpose during a challenging time of life. And then there is the whole college thing. Kids are REQUIRED these days to be well-rounded and participate in various activities.
So, while I decide what I will choose to devote our time and money to this next year...here is a little recap of some of our Spring Activities we did last year.
Our High School Cheerleaders put on a clinic for young girls on Saturday. They learned a cheer and a dance routine and I think Annie had a lot of fun.
The year before last, I signed up Annie for dance and she enjoyed it, but didn't LOVE it- so we didn't sign up again. Then a friend told us about her gymnastics class and Annie really wanted to give it a try. She LOVED it.
They did an end-of-the-year Gynmastics Meet and Annie was able to show off some of the routines they had learned this year. She even brought home a few ribbons!
This girl now pretty much does cartwheels instead of walking. It has been fun to see her find something she really enjoys!
It was a dream having Michael and Luke on the same Soccer Team again. It makes it so easy for our practice and game schedule! Both boys have really improved and had a great season.
Michael givin' it his all...
Luke going for a steal...
Luke played some awesome defense our last game...
Michael has gotten really aggressive and always gets right in to get that ball...
And one final one of Luke...
After years of putting music on the back burner...with just a few lessons here and there, we are making time for it this Fall! I have always wanted the boys to learn to play the bag pipes...and I finally found someone that teaches it! We might just have a Scottish Bag Pipe Band on our hands in a few years. I will keep you posted on how it goes.