Every now and then sports families need a break from the crazy schedules and demands of the youth sports life. When you barely have time to talk to each other, when it feels like it’s been forever since you actually had fun together, or even a sit-down leisurely family meal, running away may be necessary.
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I came across this article called This Is What Happened When I Convinced My Kids to Skip Summer Sports where a dad tells the story of their family’s decision to leave their “overly-planned, youth sports-packed summer behind and venture intrepidly into a summer filled with nothing to do–but travel. A lot of travel.”
Obviously, not every family can take a whole summer off from their regularly scheduled life but running away can be done in smaller doses. Even just a fun family vacation–that’s NOT built around youth sports tournaments–or even a few weekend trips where the whole family can leave work, practices, games, and normal responsibilities behind and just hang out together can have a very positive impact on your family.
Many of you may say… “Can’t happen, our kids need to play on a summer team and they simply can’t miss it if they want to stay up with their teammates.”
“Our kids miss a weekend tournament? What if that puts them behind?”
I worried about that very thing too, but I’ve learned that a bigger picture view is what’s really needed. One tournament or a week of no practices or games is NOT going to end your child’s sports career. In fact, taking time off may be the very break they need to keep up their love for the game. Too much of a good thing is not a good thing.
If your child plays for a coach that does not support family time, you might want to think about finding a new team. I’m not saying you should let your child constantly miss practices and games for family events–there should be a commitment on your child’s part to the team–but important events and emergencies, as well as family vacations, should be encouraged by the coach.
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In case you need more convincing that this is a MUST for the health of your family, here are a few reasons why running away is the right thing to do:
• A break in a hectic schedule offers refreshment and rest for body and spirit.
• Running away together makes family memories. It doesn’t mean you won’t fight or that everything will go smoothly, but it promises memories you will talk about for years.
• If you want a close-knit family, you must set aside time to work on it. Running away together gets away from distractions that tear families apart.
• Adventures open up your family’s world. Exploring new places is good for your child’s mind and emotions.
• Keeps the importance of competition in perspective. There is indeed more to life than youth sports!
Steve Alvarez, who wrote the article I mentioned above had this to say about the summer his family “ran away”:
This past summer, everything we did had no future payoff. No spot earned on a team, no skills would be improved, and no tournaments would be won. No trophies or medals were earned. The only remnants of summer on the kids was their sun-kissed skin and the unseen memories each one had made. Together we logged more than 5,000 miles on the road, driving to destinations where our only objective was to have fun and explore.
What a gift that was to his kids who claimed it was the best summer they’d ever had!
Janis Meredith is a family coach who wants to help all parents raise champions. You can find out more at rcfamilies.com.