My ten year old son is just as cute now as when he was a toddler. The chubby thighs and dimpled hands are gone, replaced by long strong legs and capable fingers. He no longer refers to cars as “vroom vrooms” and it makes me a little sad that “mama” was replaced with “mom”. I love him more every day and am enjoying him just as much as a big kid as I did when he was little!
These are the thoughts that went through my head the afternoon he enthusiastically said to me, “Mom, you should write about soccer because everyone likes soccer!” Now, you need to know something about this boy of mine. He lives and breathes soccer from the time the snow melts until it returns and when he can no longer play he watches Youtube videos of important games.
I gently mentioned that just because he likes soccer, doesn’t mean everyone does! I have, however, learned a thing or two about organized sports in the past 4 years and thought it might be a good idea to share with you the pros and cons.
- Exercise is a must! I am in favor of anything that gets my kids moving and releasing energy. I have active children and they need a place to be active otherwise they became restless and fight. It’s also good for them, but you already know that!
- Learning to work as a member of a team is invaluable. I have watched him switch from self-centeredly (Is that a word??) hogging the ball in order to receive the glory from scoring all the goals himself to learning to pass and work with his team mates to win the game. I can see situations in the future that this attitude will benefit him. School projects, community service, his future occupation, getting along with his future wife 😉 coworkers, and friends in general.
- Practice makes perfect. At this point I could quote half a dozen people on why failure is important and how giving up is never the correct choice. You probably don’t need to read all of them, but the idea remains true. Shooting the ball and seeing it sail over the net instead of in teaches him to keep his kicks lower. This comes by practice.
Practice teaches self discipline and persistence. Both are important qualities in life. Self discipline and persistence comes more naturally to some of us than others. Now is a good time to foster it.
Looking again into his future, I can see him not giving up when he is turned down for his dream job or completing a project in which everything went wrong. Life pushes us down sometimes, we need to teach our kids how to stand back up, brush themselves off and try again.
- It’s a commitment. This can be a pro or a con. It’s a valuable lesson that once you’ve agreed to something, its important to stick with it and see it til the end. On the flip side, there have been many days in which I had other things I wanted to achieve, but was forced to stop, round up all the kids, fill water bottles, prep dinner for after the game, feed snacks before the game, pack toddler toys etc. etc. It’s a family commitment which may or may not fit into your routine.
- Sometimes the pressure isn’t necessary. We’ve had all positive coaches. I have heard coaches from opposing teams whom were not positive and I would have a problem with them if they were yelling at my kid this way. They are kids after all and learning takes place in a positive environment.
I have also heard parents barking loudly at their kids from the sidelines. It is one thing to cheer your child on, but us parents need to keep perspective as well.
- Balance is key. Society puts pressure on us parents to put kids in sports, music lessons, dance, etc. While all of it is enjoyable and worth the skills learned, it can sometimes replace important family goals. Quality time as a family is often neglected as we rush from one activity to the next. Meals are eaten on the road and the downtime that we all need to function is overlooked. Find a balance that works for your family. Sometimes we have to say no.
That’s my two-cents worth!
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