Trying to Find a Balance

I find more each day that parenting is a learning process and sometimes we make a decision not knowing if it’s the right one at the time.  Things like making sure my kids eat healthy or setting curfews and other rules can differ from other parents and there’s nobody to tell me for certain what I should be doing.  Right now I’m faced with a tough decision in regard to my daughter.

I recognize today many kids are heavily involved in extra-curricular activities.  It’s not uncommon to find a child who is trying to juggle a sport, music lessons and a school club all while trying to manage his or her school work.  There are different views on this subject–some parents think the more things their child is involved in, the more he or she will grow as a person, be productive and stay out of trouble.  Others, like myself are looking for some balance and worry it’s too much and these kids end up stressed trying to manage so many things at such a young age.

This brings me back to Alex.  Alex is a straight A student, about to begin her sophmore year.  She is involved in the school’s chorus, belongs to one of the volunteer clubs and last spring she ran track.  She did well and her coaches urged her to join the cross country team in fall.  Her father and I said we were okay with it as long as she makes school work her priority.  Well, I got the cross country scheduled and whoa!  You might think these kids have nothing else to do than train for the sport.  Training starts two weeks before school at a distant location every weeknight from 5:30-7:30.  Transportation is not provided and there is a fee each time you enter the park.  In addition, the team is required to travel to another location, about 45 minutes away from the school, each Saturday and arrive by 8:00 a.m.  All this is aside from the regularly scheduled meets.

I have problems with this on so many levels, but my main concern is the fact that this severely eats into her study/homework time each day and the possibility the extra demands may adversly impact her overall well-being (think stress) The timing itself is also impactful to the rest of the family–it’s right in the middle of family dinner time, which we consider to be important. 

The end result is she will not be doing cross country.  I’m not feeling all that great about our decision, although I do believe it’s the right one for Alex and our family.  We’ve told Alex that spring track is fine and she can look into winter track if she feels she can manage it with her workload (neither sport is as demanding as cross country).  I just wish sometimes these decisions would be easier or that I could look into a crystal ball and know I made the right one. 

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