My 12-year-old, Cohen, is supposed to be practicing juggling his soccer ball. Instead, he’s playing catch with the dog. “Juggle,” I yell. “I’m not paying all this money for soccer if you’re not going to practice.”

A Love, Hate Relationship with Practice

Don’t get me wrong, Cohen loves to play soccer. However, he hates to practice at home, especially his juggling. Sometimes I feel like a drill sergeant when he loafs around instead of concentrating on his skill building, especially when it seems my hard-earned money is being thrown away.

One Costly Invite to Las Vegas

My son plays club soccer all year. It is expensive. He has practice at least twice a week, more during the warmer months. Recently, he got invited to participate in an invitation-only team camp through his club. I am very proud of him, but this training is in Las Vegas, and it’s not paid for. That’s an extra cost that we weren’t planning to spend right after the holidays. So, I asked myself, “Is it worth it?”

Are Parents Over-Investing in Youth Activities?

I feel that parents today are far more likely to invest in after-school activities for kids than any generation before. I know you can spend as much or as little as you like. My daughter plays rec basketball. She likes playing the sport but only for fun. It’s cheap and she enjoys the 12 weeks of practices and games.

Cohen, however, has never missed a game or practice except when he broke his collarbone. But what if tomorrow he wakes up and says that he doesn’t want to continue? I’ve already invested considerable time, money and effort in soccer. I might not want to let him quit.

A friend of mine had a daughter in dance from the time she was three years old. She spent thousands of dollars on instruction, costumes and travel to competitions. When her daughter turned 13, she abruptly decided she no longer wanted to continue. Another friend hated practicing the violin and her parents let her quit. Now she regrets it and wishes that her parents had made her keep going.

The End Goal: A College Scholarship

Many parents want to give their children every advantage they possibly can. We’ve discussed what high school Cohen would like to attend based on the soccer programs at each school. But, as we think towards the future, our goal with all this training and money is hopefully to land him a scholarship to college.

Making Time to Be a Kid

Not that I think Cohen would quit soccer anytime soon. But I want him to have unstructured time to play and develop other interests. I don’t want him to invest all his time on one thing. Some people say that kids should be required to try many kinds of activities to help them develop interests. Some parents impose activities on their children that they would have liked to be involved in when they were young. Maybe Cohen will enjoy them, but maybe not. I continue to ask him if he’d like to try other things. But even though he plays video games and participates in his church’s youth group, soccer is his priority.

My Reflection on Overcommitment

Is this too much for a 12-year-old? At his age, I was in three different basketball leagues, traveling to games and always playing. I don’t regret it. I even played a little in high school. However, my mom also made me try dance, volleyball, gymnastics and swim team. I, too, was a busy child. But if he likes it and wants to continue, I am here to support his dream. If he does decide to quit one day, I know the skills he learned in training will help him become a better person. Through this sport, he has learned patience, toughness, competitiveness and so much more.

His Legacy Beyond Soccer

As parents, we are role models on how to handle stress and how to balance our time. I hope I am showing Cohen that just because he is busy doesn’t mean he can’t take the time to slow down and enjoy the gift of family unity—it’s the greatest gift of all!

Mallory Connelly

Mallory Connelly

Babies & Toddlers

In addition to the time I devote to being a mom, I also work full-time outside the home, which means my day is hardly ever as simple as nine to five. With an all-too-established schedule, as soon as I walk through the door, my day doesn’t end, but rather just begins. It’s a balancing act, especially with two children, but being a mom is one full-time job that I never want to quit!

You may also like

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This