Are You Raising the Next Olympic Athlete?

There’s an unspoken question among parents when we watch Olympic athletes or successful professional athletes such as Gabby Douglas or the Williams’ sisters. 

Could my child be next?

How are we to know?  Could we be depriving our child of “their” opportunity?  If so which opportunity- soccer, basketball, football, or is it piano, violin, or maybe it’s art, music or dance.  We are blessed with the curse of opportunity.  So many wonderful opportunities.  How do we choose?

In our attempt to expose our children to many opportunities, we can over-expose them to choices and create confusion.

Here are some guidelines to consider the next time you think about signing up for any classes.

  • What are your goals for your family?

There is a saying” If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there”.  Each family needs goals, a sense of purpose, a bigger mission to point towards.  Goals help us to make decisions about what is best for our family in all areas- physically, mentally, spiritually, and financially.

  • Can you afford the time commitment?

Not just the class each week, but the travel time, prep time, and at-home practice time.  The time involved with activities is greater than just the scheduled class or practice time.  There’s also practice time at home.  Not to mention travel time to and from games or performances.

  • What are the most important things your child needs right now?

Assess the needs of your child.  Take into consideration their age, attention span, and their current interests.  If your child is more interested in playing outside with friends than attending his next class, he may be telling you he doesn’t need a structured lesson right now- he needs to run and get dirty.

  • Is this “opportunity” about your child, or your own self-interest?
  • Can you afford the financial commitment?
  • Is the coach, teacher, or instructor a person of character and integrity?
  • Is the benefit greater than the missed opportunities?

Missed opportunities = all of the other things that come up that you can’t do because of this activity.  For example, relatives come to visit, but they are only here a couple of days and you have practice schedules to maintain. Or you really want to spend this gorgeous afternoon at the park, but it’s time to go to class.

If you have the next amazing athlete or musician, it’s a gift from God to enjoy, not a burden to endure.  If you find yourself burdened with commitments, hoping  your child won’t miss their “thing”, ask yourself if maybe the real thing they are missing is the space to discover their unique gift from God.

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