Things Christian Parents Might Want to Consider with Regards to Youth Sports

I am not a sports mom. I was an athlete as a kid and played on sports teams through college. My kids… not so much. I am not sure if it’s the homeschooling thing, or just their personalities, but they’re not sports mad.

We tried to get them involved in team sports when they were younger. Both played youth soccer – for one season. It was the most depressing thing I witnessed being out on those fields. Little kids crying, begging not to have to play. They were 4 and 5, coming from a long day of “school” and just needed to be home eating dinner and having a bath. Yet – 7 pm – or later – they were out on the cold fields playing soccer. Our kids had been done with schoolwork for hours, and were rested and excited to be out playing. It was so sad. The kids didn’t love it, so we decided it wasn’t for us.

One summer we tried baseball. It was supposed to be a fun summer league for 6 and 7 year olds. NOT. We didn’t last long there.

Now, our kids take twice weekly Tae Kwon Do lessons at a local church. They’re advancing, growing, and loving it. It’s great for them. And, we play Upward Basketball. Upward is basically “church league” with one practice and one game a week. It’s supposed to be a discipleship program with sports thrown in. I’ve coached teams, worked as a referee, and both kids have played. Big aged out this year, but I “made” Little play. He didn’t want to – but it’s winter time, he needs the exercise, he’s a social kid do time with friends was good for him, and I like the program. It was a good learning experience for him.

So, after all this, what’s the point of this post? This year I worked as a referee at Upward. I officiated 3 games a week for 6 weeks. I worked with the 3rd and 4th grade boys teams. Every week I learned something new, and I wanted to share some of it here. This is my list of – Things Christian Parents Might Want to Consider with Regards to Youth Sports:

1. Don’t yell at the refs. This should be obvious – but I can’t count the number of “Oh, c’mon ref!” comments or “You missed that call, ref!” I heard this season. It’s sickening. Even if the referees are being paid – youth sports is youth sports. Kids aren’t very good and if we called every infraction we’d never get to play.

Hand in hand with not yelling at the refs…

2. Don’t blame the refs for a loss. Parent’s negative comments – no matter how valid – about the officiating sends a CLEAR message to our kids that their performance doesn’t matter. It removes personal responsibility from the kids. If the officiating was bad – then their poor play, lack of hustle, failure to rebound or play defense didn’t cause the loss – it was the refs. They will NOT learn that their play directly impacts their ability to win. They will NOT learn that sometimes, the other team is just better and you get outplayed. Learning that teaches grace and respect for a worthy opponent. Hearing parents make any disparaging remark about officials is a responsibility “get out of jail free” card and teaches the kids to be victims and to make excuses for their losses.

3. Your kids true character will show on the court. Sorry. It’s true. I’ve hard all the excuses, “He’s just caught up in the game”, “He just loves to win”, “He’s just a little carried away, he’s not normally like this”. They are just that – excuses. If your kid is excessively competitive at home – it will show up on the court and it will be ugly. If they lack self control at home – it will show up on the court and it will be ugly. If they cannot take correction at home – it will show up on the court and it will be ugly. If they lack the ability to control themselves when frustrated – it will show up on the court and be ugly. How does it show up? Ball slamming, rude comments to refs, arguing about calls, throwing things, hitting other kids, rude remarks, ignoring coaches, an unteachable heart, blatant disregard for coach’s instructions and doing their own thing, looking our for themselves above the needs of the team, etc… I could go on. No – my kids aren’t perfect and I am grateful for the character flaws that show up during sports (and other times) so we can talk about them, seek scripture and pray about our failings. We use these opportunities to refine character. OFTEN, I see parents excusing behavior rather than addressing it. Sports can be a way to highlight talents – and flaws. Lets use both of those to glorify God and not miss the opportunity to refine character.

4. Please don’t coach from the sidelines if you aren’t a “Coach”. This last week of reffing I witnessed the saddest thing. It seriously broke my heart. A 4th grade boy – a phenomenal basketball player (seriously – could have gone 5 on 1 and probably won) – had a family member on the sidelines. The family member was yelling at the kid ALL SORTS of instructions. This boy was a young man of character and was trying his best to do what his coach asked him to do. He was passing, he was sharing, he played clean defense. He was conflicted, though. He COULD do what the family member was asking – but it wasn’t within the rules, or what his coach wanted him to do. He had the ability to oblige the screaming family member. He would be the hero to most of the people on the sidelines if he DID do what was being screamed at him. BUT, it wasn’t the RIGHT thing to do and he knew it. It wasn’t fait to his team or coach. To complicate things, the family member didn’t know or care about the rules that Upward plays by. There is ONLY man-on-man defense – so this boy going to block other kids is against the rules. He can’t do it. The coach had a plan that was designed for ALL the boys to learn something. This boy going off and obeying his family member wouldn’t meet the coach’s ends.

This is an extreme example – but parents coaching from the sidelines is VERY similar. Your kids want to please you, and the coach. BUT, they’re going home with you and get to listen to YOUR critique of the game. Guess who they’ll listen to…. YOU. Not the coach who has given up their time and is there to teach. They’ll listen to you – not the coach who has a plan and a blueprint to help the kids learn the game and character. Or, they’ll listen to their coach and then hear from you in the car about why they didn’t do x, y or z that you yelled from the sidelines. They’re kids. They cannot manage everything the coach is telling them, and make their bodies do it all, and not be distracted, and do all that you’re yelling at them. Either coach, or be a supportive encouraging parent who supports the coaches. Please don’t try to coach from the sidelines.

5. Be aware of what you cheer your kids on for. (I know, bad grammar, sorry!). When I was a kid, my parents came to all my games. They never cheered. They never congratulated me on being a high scorer. But, they would get on me if I was a poor sport, or being a ball hog. Frankly, our society has enough ME going on and could use a little more TEAM and a whole lot more servant. I have seen enough talented kids score a million points with the team leading by a million to last a lifetime. But the rare moments – when the talented kids make an effort to get the ball or a shooting opportunity to a less skilled player – those are gold. Those teach a servant’s heart and teamwork. I’m not saying throw a game – I am saying that sports gives us the opportunity to share with our kids what we value. Are we communicating we value their ten baskets, or their good picks they set for a teammate? Or the way they helped an injured opponent? Or the fact they said “thank you” to a ref without being asked? Are we cheering our kids on for hard defense, good passing, or only when they score? Yes – by all means celebrate with your athletes – but be aware what you are really communicating.

I guess my comments all boil down to one theme. Colossians 3:23-24, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” This is true for life, and for youth sports. We should aim to glorify God in the way we parent, and we should help our kids glorify Him in the way we play. Winning and losing is irrelevant.

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Modest Monday – Plus Size Clothes

I am not a skirts / dresses only woman. I know there are many out there, but it’s not something that I or my husband have been convicted about. I do love wearing skirts and I wear them often. {I actually went to a private boarding school where skirts and dress were required for class every day, so for four years I wore skirts a ton. 🙂 } As a less-than-skinny woman, I am always on the lookout for nice, modest, affordable skirts and dresses and as a plus size sometimes these can be really hard to find. This spring I’ve found quite a few and wanted to share!!

My go-to place for cheap, seasonal, cute stuff – CATO. Most towns have CATO, they have prices that rival Walmart, though their clothes are much cuter and much better made. They usually carry a wide selection of denim skirts, as well as capris, and dressy clothes. The local CATO here has a great clearance rack. They also rotate their clothes frequently, which is cool.

Here are a couple of things I found there recently (oh yeah… and bought…)

20140224-101530.jpg SUPER cute shirt with a very slimming band at the bottom. Great for a dressier requirement. $17.99. They had this in a tan, the light green here, and a really pretty peach. Very flattering!!

20140224-101616.jpg I bought this in tan, a lime stripe, and a very pretty sea foam color they don’t have on the website. (I’m very tall, so I LOVE maxi skirts.) Seriously – if you like maxi skirts – head to Cato. They had about 10 different colors and patterns. $19.99. SUPER flattering zig zag cut which I know you can’t see here. LOL!!

And I LOVE skorts. I know this may be controversial in the “skirts only” world, but I think they’re nicer looking than shorts, more feminine, and you can get them long enough they don’t look immodest. Also, my husband loves them on me. My “modest” dressing goal is to look nice, look feminine, and not draw attention to myself. I think these totally fit the bill. They are expensive, but they’re flattering, longer than most, made well, and a GREAT fabric. I bought a few to wear all summer long (golfing…pool…tennis…). They are from Sahalie – an obscure company I hadn’t heard of until last year. The photo is linked to the website.

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And lastly, another weird company I didn’t know about that carries lots of cute, trendy, fashions – Simply Be. I bought a few long sleeved tshirt dresses there this fall that were very cute. I will say they SHRUNK like mad when I put them in the dryer, so watch out. I wouldn’t say all their stuff is “modest” but they have a huge collection and are particularly great for teens and younger ladies. Here’s a link.

Hope that helps!! Happy shopping!!!

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Hamburgers and Milk Shakes!!

Tomorrow the kids and I are going out to lunch. We’re headed to a new restaurant opened by a couple local homeschool graduates which specializes in HAMBURGERS and MILK SHAKES. I am so excited.

Why the enthusiasm??

Little finished his final AWANA book.

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This is his final year in AWANA after completing Cubbies, Sparks, and now T&T. I’m very proud of him for sticking with it (and not complaining too much when we /made/ him, LOL!!). We’re HUGE fans of AWANA here because it’s a great discipleship /scripture memory accountability program, and it was out date night for YEARS. What a great ministry to out family!!

What kind of discipleship? This year along Little learned:

Ultimate Challenge Book 2 Outline

What do I need to know about my family — now and in the future?

My family should put the Lord first in everything it does.
Memory verse: Joshua 24:15b
Review verse: Ephesians 1:14

Family members should enjoy one another.
Memory verses: Deuteronomy 5:16; Psalm 127:3
Review verse: Joshua 24:15b

Family members should talk to one another.
Memory verses: Proverbs 4:2-4
Review verse: Psalm 127:3

I need to earn my parent’s trust.
Memory verses: Ephesians 6:1-2
Review verse: Deuteronomy 5:16

Family members have responsibilities.
Memory verses: Ephesians 6:1-2, 4

I need to be a kid.
Memory verses: 2 Peter 1:5-8
Review verses: Proverbs 4:2-4

I need to keep myself pure.
Memory verses: 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Review verses: Ephesians 6:1-2, 4

I need to pray about God’s plan for my future.
Memory verses: Jeremiah 29:11; Philippians 4:12-13
Review verses: 2 Peter 1:5-7

How can I grow spiritually?

I can grow spiritually by learning more about the Bible.
Memory verses: Hebrews 5:13-14

I can grow spiritually by listening to my pastor.
Memory verses: 2 Timothy 1:13-14
Review verses: 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

I can grow spiritually by memorizing God’s Word.
Memory verse: Colossians 3:16

By being baptized — a picture of my relationship with Christ.
Memory verses: Romans 6:4-5
Review verse: Jeremiah 29:11

I can grow spiritually by reading my Bible everyday.
Memory verse: Joshua 1:9
Review verse: Philippians 4:13

I can grow spiritually by using the gifts God has given me.
Memory verse: 1 Corinthians 12:12
Review verses: Hebrews 5:13-14

I can grow spiritually by talking to God every day.
Memory verse: Colossians 4:2
Review verses: 2 Timothy 1:13-14

I can grow spiritually by working together with other Christians at my church.
Memory verses: 1 Corinthians 12:25; Psalm 133:1

What is a good friend?

A good friend shows respect to others.
Memory verses: Romans 12:10; 1 Peter 2:17
Review verse: Colossians 3:16

A good friend shows loyalty to others.
Memory verses: Proverbs 19:4; Proverbs 20:6
Review verses: Romans 6:4-5

A good friend is honest with others.
Memory verses: Proverbs 12:19; Proverbs 19:22
Review verse: Joshua 1:9

A good friend shares and is not selfish.
Memory verses: 1 Peter 1:22
Review verse: 1 Corinthians 12:25

A good friend forgives others.
Memory verses: 1 Peter 3:8-9

A good friend prays for others.
Memory verse: 2 Thessalonians 1:11
Review verse: 1 Corinthians 12:12

A good friend encourages others.
Memory verses: Ephesians 4:29; Romans 15:2
A good friend tells unsaved friends about Christ.
Memory verses: Romans 1:16
Review verse: Colossians 4:2

What does God want me to know about the future?

Hell is a place of eternal punishment.
Memory verse: Revelation 20:15
Review verse: Ephesians 4:29

Heaven is a place of eternal reward.
Memory verse: Philippians 3:20
Review verse: Psalm 133:1

Heaven is a perfect and joyful home.
Memory verse: Revelation 7:16
Review verse: Romans 1:16

Our bodies will be different in heaven.
Memory verses: 1 Corinthians 15:51-52

God will judge unbelievers at the Great White Throne Judgment.
Memory verse: Revelation 20:11
Review verse: 1 Peter 2:17

Believers will be rewarded for their faithful service for Christ. Memory verse: 1 Corinthians 9:25

God knows the future.
Memory verses: Proverbs 3:5-6
Review verse: Romans 12:10

God has a plan for my future.
Memory verses: 2 Timothy 3:15

Tomorrow we celebrate. Hamburgers and milk shakes with a cool little boy growing quickly into an amazing young man who is such an tremendous blessing to me.

Weekly Report – 21 February

I’m a little late getting this done, but today was SO AMAZING out. We went to play some tennis, out for lunch in the sun, and I took a big fat nap. I haven’t napped in forever, and I am hoping I don’t regret it tonight!!

This week has been a great week. We got a lot done, and had a lot of fun doing it. We stretched and grew a little, sometimes a little painfully, but it’s all good….

History / Geography-
Finished Sonlight Core F Week 29. Still loving it. My only concern for next year with it is that the bible isn’t full enough for me. I think we may do the Summit Ministries Worldview Course instead, or in addition. I haven’t decided yet. Other than that – I’m still super happy. We’re ahead on all our reading, so we started the Gladys Alward biography. It’s riveting. We’re traveling in a few weeks and I told the kids they’d need to keep up with their Sonlight reading. “No problem, Mom. Give it to me now and I’ll read it all ahead of time.” That’s a testimonial!!

Bible –
I HAVE to get on Little’s case tomorrow and Sunday so we can knock out the last Challenge in his T&T AWANA book. WIth spring break, travel, etc. I aam worried about leaving it for the last minute. Otherwise we’re on schedule with Sonlight. I like the 2 chapters a day, and the scripture memory is good (admission – when we do it!!).

Science –
Continuing with BJU 7 online, we are working through Chapter 19. Test is Monday.

Math –
Same old Same old for Big. This was a relatively easy week. I didn’t ace the test. My fault. 😦 Little is adjusting to the world of Saxon. It’s a BIG switch for him. The math – EASY – the copying, details, etc. – learning… I know he’ll get the swing of it and I just need to be firm and encouraging until then. 🙂

Language Arts –
Another week of CLE. I really love this curriculum.

Reading –
CLE continues as usual. Sonlight reading is awesome, too.

Other Stuff –
Writing this week…. back to IEW Bible writing. It’s easy to implement. It gets done. It’s clear in its directions. I like it. So, there it is. LOL!! The kids did a nice 3 paragraph paper this week with a fused outline.

Life –
We had a FABULOUS Valentine’s party for the kids at bible study. It was great. We had a HUGE turnout (for us, anyway!). The kids and I spent 2 days cleaning out the church library and culling out old books and curricula. It was a great service project. We cleaned up the yard – then there was a storm… LOL!! TKD was good, Little has his last basketball practice tonight, and will miss a game with a scouting event.

NEXT WEEK –
We need to get working on our Teen Pact one-day class homework. I think Big already read the book. I am looking forward to this! I need to meal plan and get back on budget again… but that’s another blog post. LOL!

So, You’re Thinking About Homeschooling – Daily Life

In case you missed the earlier editions – this is the THRID installment in my “So, You’re Thinking About Homeschooling…” series. Basically, this is a few things (in no particular order) that I recently shared with a mom friend thinking of homeschooling. I was guessing there were lots of people searching online for help with the decision to homeschool for the first time, so I hope this helps!

Again… In no particular order… Things that you might need to know or will on if you homeschool….

1. QUIET TIME. This is the great hidden secret of “how do homeschool moms deal with their kids all day long?”. One, we love this life and enjoy their company… And, quiet time. This is a sanity saver for mom and a good things for the kids. In our house, from the time the kids were tiny and nap takers, we’ve have an afternoon quiet time. Babies would nap from 1-3. Then, when they were old enough for sometimes naps – we had quiet time. Quiet time in our house was “book or bed” time. You could nap or read. Period. No toys, games, etc. Books or bed. On the bed. YES, there was some training. YES, it was hard. But it was SO WORTH IT!!!

From 4-6 years old there were lots of nap days (even if the kids SWORE they didn’t need one, LOL!!). As the kids got older they could finish up piano, schoolwork, or read. I would occasionally let them play a quiet game like Legos. Rarely, though. I think this time of quiet was HUGE for me to be able to regroup, straighten the house, take a nap, call a friend, etc. AND the kids learned to fill their own idle time. They don’t need to be entertained every minute of every day. They’re fine being alone. AND, I am convinced this is part of the reason why my kids are such voracious readers. Quiet time. Every day. Seriously a life saver. Even if your kids are middle school or older. (IF they’re older – YOU get a QT in your room. 🙂 )

2. CHORES. This is another tough training one. Basically, with your and your kids home every day your house will be in a state of Saturday. Every day…. All day. Sorry. It’s true. You’ll make and eat three meals a day – so you’ll have lots of dishes. You’ll spread stuff everywhere (or the kids will). You’ll just make messes all day long. If you recognize that beforehand, it might make it less irritating. It might. But – the good part is that you didn’t make the mess alone, so you don’t have to clean it up alone. Train (and it will take training) your kids to do chores. Regular chores – like gathering laundry, emptying the dishwasher, and feeding the dog are so helpful.

This will be a lifesaver for you – and it’s a life skill that every kid needs. You can google “chores for kids” and find a million different ideas and methods. Whatever it takes – involve your kids in the cleaning up process from Day One.

3. SCREENS. This is a very personal family thing – but before you start homeschooling – set hard and fast guidelines for your kids screen time. This is a monster than can take over the hearts and attitudes of your kids. Quickly. In our house, we have VERY limited screen use. This year we, for the first time ever, allowed one 22 minute tv show for the kids before school. They’re middle schoolers and it was done as a motivation to manage their own wake up time, piano practice, and morning chore time. It’s been a HUGE success, BUT I would not allow it before this age. I would not allow younger siblings any tv access during the school day either. Or TV at lunch. It’s a time sucking vacuum and it will quickly derail your day. Computers, video games, etc. all fall in the same category for me. Define it before you start and stick with it.

4. OFFICE HOURS. I talked about this in my other post here, but again, the faster you set a time where school is a must, the easier your life will be. You can always call it a day early – but it’s really hard to break the habit of starting at 10. Set your times. “8-3 is the school day” or whatever works for you.

5. BED TIMES / WAKE UP TIMES. Again, this is a personal thing, but one to consider. We have bed times and get up times. The kids regulate get up times now, but bedtime is around 9-9:30ish. Some days we’ll stay up and read aloud longer – but when we say BED, we mean it. Kids need their rest. They also need a schedule. Stay up until whenever, and wake whenever is neither realistic for life or good health. Get them to bed. Yes, again, it’s a training thing.

6. FOOD. A high protein breakfast with some fruit is a great thing for most moms and kids. A sugary high carb treat – plan for a meltdown. Just saying. 😉

7. EXERCISE. This is a must for you and the kids. Do it alone. Do it together. Indoor, outdoor, gym, whatever. Get some fresh air and exercise on a regular basis. You and the kids. I don’t mean 2 hours of running. Go for a walk. Scooter. Ride a bike. Play catch. Anything. Get some air and Vitamin D. Your days will be so much better for it.

8. MEAL PLANNING. Seriously. This is HUGE for me now. I didn’t do it this past week and I honestly felt a little adrift. Nothing fancy here, but making a list of three meals a day for the week and making sure I have the stuff for it removes so much thinking later that it amazes me. I’m back on the bandwagon for this next week!!

I hope this list, along with the others is helpful. If you have any specific questions – please leave me a comment!!

Modest Monday – Jockey Skimmies Slipshort

Now, this is the point where the one man who reads my blog – MY AMAZING HUSBAND – can stop reading. Head to a car racing site… It’s Modest Monday and this one is not for the dudes. 🙂

So, not everyone is an amazing skinny super marathon runner like my sister. I am not. I have many friends who are not.

Well, without wing immodest, that can create a problem with dress and skirts. It can make them uncomfortable and unfun to wear. Yes, it can.

Especially in the summer in the Deep South where I live.

For this reason I cannot recommend the Jockey® Skimmies® Slipshort highly enough. Here’s a link to amazon – but it’s an unmentionable so expect that in the photo, please.

No, I’m not being paid by Jockey, LOL!!! Last summer I was shopping at an outlet mall and found these and bought a couple pairs to try them out. WOW. THEY ARE AWESOME!!

Basically, these are super, duper thin breathable bike shorts. They are not a super hard to get on ultra tight slimming product. They provide a little smoothing coverage, and excellent chafing protection. They are super lightweight – think something between the tops of the old school panty hose tops and thin synthetic unders. They don’t roll, bunch, or go all crazy on the top, like other smoothing products. They’re not boy short length – but more like short bike shorts. I know, it’s hard to describe.

If you are on the fence, order a pair to try! They are simply fabulous and a wonderful way to ensure that wearing skirts and dresses is comfortable and something you do more often!

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