Part one in this series deal with the impact youth sports is having upon families and the church. In part two I discussed highlights from Mike Matheny’s book on youth sports. In this third and final post I desire to share some of my own suggestions for dealing with youth sports as a Christian parent.
Five principles Christian families can use to evaluate their involvement in youth sports.
- Prayerfully and thoughtfully consider all organized sports participation. Just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t mean it is best for your family. Just because your child wants to play doesn’t mean you should let them play. Parents must be selective. Families must set boundaries for themselves. Before you sign up for the travel team or choose to play fall soccer, winter basketball, spring soccer, and summer baseball all while the daughter plays soccer, volleyball, and takes piano you should consider the impact upon your family!
- Don’t forget the value of backyard fun. Maybe the best thing you can do for your family is to say no to organized sports during certain seasons and focus on just letting the kids get outside and play. More memories can be made with a family whiffle ball game than a summer full of t-ball!
- Always keep in mind our example for Christ, whether being a coach, referee, parent, or player. As Christians we should not check our faith at the gym door! We must remember we are reflecting Christ and the local church by our actions. When folks of the community see us acting a fool toward the referee or harshly berating our own child over a game, we hinder our witness for Christ.
- Remember the intended purpose of youth sports in seeking to raise your child. Seek to determine what you would like to accomplish with youth sports and seek to use them to mold your child. Sports teach great lessons like humility, effort, teamwork, winning and losing with class, and anger management. Choose to use sports to mold your child’s character, not just their skills! Don’t get focused on pushing your child, so they will get a scholarship. Approximately only 1% of high school athletes will receive a Division 1 scholarship.¹ Your focus must be on character development.
- Use sports to teach respect and obedience to the coach and officials. As a parent, we must resist the effort to regularly run down the coach and officials. We must show respect for the officials and the coach through our own actions. We cannot expect our kids to respect them, if we as parents don’t.
What more would you add for Christian families to consider?
¹ https://www.bostonglobe.com/magazine/2014/05/03/how-parents-are-ruining-youth- sports/vbRln8qYXkrrNFJcsuvNyM/story.html