Monday, March 7, 2016

Should I go to all my kid's sporting events?

I'm sorry to say it, but I do not believe it is necessary to attend every single one of your children's sporting events. I think it is a good idea to make it to as many as you can, but I do not think it is healthy for the child, nor the parent, to attend everything.

I think the most important part of being a parent is making sure kids are well taken care of.  So this means that work comes first.  If you do not work, your family will not eat. It is for this reason that you cannot keep skipping work in order to attend every sporting event.

If you sacrifice everything in order to attend every game, it makes children think the world revolves around them, and it doesn't. It makes them feel as though they are entitled to have their parents at every game cheering them on. It also limits the ability of parents to be adults.

Look! I remember my dad attending a majority of my baseball games as a kid.  I remember him coaching me.  But my dad was also not available at home most of the time due to his work.  He came home from the car lot at 6 p.m., ate dinner with us, maybe "wrassled" with us, and then had to go off to his second job.  He was a busy man.

As I look back on it, I'm not angry at my dad for working in lieu of spending more time with us.  In fact, just the opposite: I learned the importance of hard work and discipline. I learned that work is more important than play. On his off days, and on many evenings during the summer, he would spend time with us. But that didn't preclude his responsibility as the breadwinner in the family.

Things changed economically for my parents when my younger two siblings went to high school. By this time my dad was able to spend quality time at home.  So my dad did not feel so obligated to attend every sporting event.  I remember drinking beer with my dad at his cabin while my younger brother Tony was playing in a high school baseball games.

Dad was proud of Tony, even hung newspaper clippings on the wall of the cabin, but he didn't feel obligated to attend every game.  He did not have to. And I have never in my life, ever, heard my brother Tony complain about this. In fact, just the opposite.

So I do not believe it is essential for parents to be involved in every aspect of their children's lives. I think not doing so gives children a chance to be independent.  It shows kids that they are not the center of the universe.  It shows kids that work is more important than play. It shows them that taking care of other people, such as older relatives or younger siblings, takes priority over a simple sporting event.

Parents also need time to themselves too.  Parents need to have quality time together. Parents need to have quality time alone. Parents need to read and learn.  Parents need to have a social life. This is important for their own intellectual and personal development. Parents are adults who already have limited time to engage in adult pursuits. Stressing about every sporting event should not preclude your mental well-being.

Worded another way, life comes with priorities: God, wife, children, other people, and then other things. If you put your children's sporting events before your God, and before your spouse, problems are certain to ensue. It could mess up your marriage. It could mess up your psychological well being.

This means that there are other important aspects of life that are more important than children's sporting events that require time and effort. Attending every sporting event is an example of parents turning children into the center of their world, which has helped create a generation of children and young adults who feel self-entitled and expect everything to revolve around their wants and desires.

That said, if you can attend every sporting event, go for it! It's important to give your children attention, and to show them love, support and affection.  But there are also other important aspects of life that are more important than sports that require time and effort and take priority over sports.