Why I Let My Farm Kids Play Sports

Being a homesteader can consume quite a bit of our time.  And the thought of adding extracurricular activities to our already busy schedule is overwhelming.  So why in the world do we do it?

Are we crazy?  Maybe.  Do we sometimes have baby goats on game night?  Yep.  Do we get behind on getting things done on the homestead?  Sometimes.

But I think that, as homesteaders, and especially if we are homeschooling homesteaders(maybe I should come up with a term for this, like Double H or HH or Schooling Steaders or maybe just Overachievers?) we get so tied up in our everyday lives and all that needs to get done at home and we become kind of like that dreaded word that many peg us as being……’hermits.’  And if we’re Schooling Steaders some will add another word to that.  ‘Backwards hermits.’

I’m going to be bluntly honest here.  I’ve seen the backward hermit types and it ain’t pretty.  Those with young kids don’t have to worry about this yet, but there comes a time when your kids need to have some sort of life off of the farm.

So why in the world did we choose sports?  Brace yourselves….

We enjoy it.

Sometimes life on the homestead can be all work and no play.  Although we certainly don’t crack the whip on them and slave drive them to the ground here on the farm, they do have chores to do and I’m guessing they are required to do a bit more work than your average kid, especially nowadays.  Sure, we have our good times here and the homesteading life is so fulfilling.  In fact, I’d be perfectly happy being a true hermit, but it just isn’t healthy to keep our kids home all of the time.
As crazy as life gets, we love basketball and our kids enjoy it too.  Maybe one day we will get burnt out on sports, but when and if that time comes, we will enjoy this crazy life.

My oldest cutting the net at Emmaus Bible College.

Organized sports can get a bad rap.  I can understand this to a point.  Sports can be infiltrated with politics and the ‘who-you-know’ nonsense.  Sports can become an idol to some and it can also be the only way some kids find their self-worth.  There could be kids on the team that are a bad influence as well.

But, to assume that playing some kind of organized ball is bad, well, that’s just bad.  I’ve gotten those looks when I mention that my kids play basketball.  I’m not exactly sure why but it happens.

Playing sports has it’s downfalls.  Pretty much everything does.  But right now the only downfall is how much time it takes and the commitment to that time away from home.  For that reason, we limit our kids to only one sport.  Since wintertime is the least busiest time on the farm, choosing basketball was the wisest choice.  Well, it also had something to do with my husband and I being ballers back in the day too!

Here’s the thing, all of my kids are pretty active.  They are athletic, every single one.  They have that drive to win, not an obsessive drive, but a healthy ‘I’m going to give it all I got’ kind of mentality.  So sports just kind of comes naturally to them.  Why would my husband and I squelch that by not allowing them to play sports?

There are some important lessons to learn as well.  Because all of my kids are homeschooled, they have to listen to my instruction, day in and day out.  So, it’s good for them to listen to someone other than their parents(unless the parent is the coach, which is the case for one of our children).

Homeschoolers get a bad rap for being unsocialized, but in reality, it is quite the norm to be home with the family and different aged siblings rather than spend all day with those of the same age.  That being said, it is good for them to get out and socialize with other kids around their age.  Since my kids play at a Christian school, I don’t have to worry too much about what goes on in the locker room.  And they get a break from their siblings!

Sports can bring up certain character issues as well.  What I like to teach my kids is to not see themselves as a victim to whatever negative circumstances are happening at that time.  But, rather take a look at themselves and see how they can learn from it and better one’s self.  I will show compassion for them, but they need to know that life just isn’t fair.  So instead of sulking about it and feeling sorry for themselves, they are reminded that there is a God-given lesson that will build their character and help them become a stronger person.

My farm kids love it here most of the time.  Yes, work can be annoying and hard at times, but the way I see it is it’s all about character building.  And that includes sports.

My 14 year old concurring the left handed dribble.

I love that I can sit and talk with my 14 year old daughter about issues she’s having with feeling intimidated on the court at times.  She’s an 8th grader playing on varsity.  That in itself is intimidating!  But it is such a blessing to talk with her and walk through how she can overcome that negative feeling.  And if she really takes these life lessons to heart, she will carry them on into her adult life.

My son shooting a free throw at the old Hoosier Gym from the movie.

My 16 year old son was kind of thrown into playing point guard this year.  And he hates to be in the spotlight.  He is a young man of few words yet has an unusual gift of integrity.  So it’s been so good to encourage him to do his best and work through those feelings of insecurity when he takes the ball down the court, knowing all eyes are on him.  Sometimes it’s good to be pushed out of our comfort zone.  That’s how we grow in character.

My ‘Red’ checking out the close score during a time out.

And then there’s my 12 year old.  His coach is a great coach, yet sometimes he zeroes in on my son even if he isn’t the one messing up.  As a parent, it bothered me at first.  But, I realized that it didn’t really affect my son as much as it affected me.  So, yep, there’s a life learning lesson for me too.  Just let some things go and don’t let other people’s negative reactions get to you, especially if they aren’t deserved!  My guess is the coach knows my son can take the heat, or it could be because he’s a redhead!  I should be able to do the same and take criticism head on as well.

Let me be clear about something though.  Just because I am okay with my kids being in sports, doesn’t mean you should throw your kids in a sport too.  Some kids just aren’t cut out for it and that is totally fine!

And just because some kids are naturally athletic and involved in a sport, and your kids aren’t, doesn’t mean you should turn up your noses at sports and the athletic children’s sports accomplishments. God made us all so different!  One is not better than the other.  We should all be supporting one another. Period.

My kids are farm kids by day and basketball players by night.  They enjoy it. They aren’t hermits to the farm but they get out and socialize and exercise, and they learn life lessons from sports.  And that’s it in a nutshell.  

Amen and carry on.

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