We don’t have to enroll our kids in every sport around because it sure can be costly, time consuming and energy draining in so many ways. I know it gives you a break from them, makes them accountable to other good authority and helps their character development, but I routinely watch the health of parents decline whence they become the athletic chauffeur, logistics support and super fans of their children. I think there’s a better way out there where we can instead raise fit kids from anywhere we are and include ourselves to benefit all.
I have done a lot of moving around, my real insiders at Fit Catholic Mom know to what extent, and part of what that has meant for us is being athletes no matter where we are. The reality of this hit a few short years ago when I got really tired of driving my child to the same field, at the same time, to play with the same kids and kick the same ball. I also had to load up all my kids to do the same crazy routine routinely! Argh...I am not taking a dig at team sports, I love them, but go with my endurance athlete's mindset for a minute here. I actually burnt out on the travel to and from the place for practice and the drop off, pick up, drop off, pick up, etc. I just needed to be able to motivate and challenge myself and my family all at the same time without conforming to another’s schedule and demands.
My husband and I decided we would encourage our kids to develop as athletes right from our door wherever that door was. This meant installing a zip line, slack line and trampoline right outside our house. We made sure everyone had adequate running shoes, a good functioning bicycle, a ball mitt and a tennis racquet. When we're on the go we made sure to also bring a stocked traveling gym with bungees, weight bar, med balls, free weights and other props as well as swim stuff and tennis racquets. You might think you can’t play tennis as a family, but if your employ your 6 year old to be the ball boy for part of the time, he’ll run his legs off to do it! The baby will crawl, the littles will run or play to the side and the big kids can rotate in and out. It doesn’t function perfectly, but it is perfectly functional for a family.
The other angle worth taking here is the real need to bring other families together and play even bigger games, pool even better ideas and watch your kids rise out of their attitudes to perform for the group. Anyone who’s been through the public school system or played sports at any level can use what they’ve learned about sports and modify them for the size and skill of the group. Who doesn’t love a game of kick ball, wall ball, pickle, tag, kick the can, sardines etc? If you don’t know what to play, listen to your kids who’ll probably have ideas.
If you’re looking to get your kids and yourself active and out of doors, look no further than what you can have on hand at home. If they struggle to get into it, just invite others to join you at home, at a park or on the trails. It’s amazing to watch our kids develop a sense of physical discipline.
Don’t over complicate this. Get creative! Be resourceful! Integrate others!
Make fitness happen and have some fun unto the health and sanctification of your body and soul.
Endure and enjoy,