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My girls made the team!  They were gymnasts at a young age–flexible, daring, and strong. After two years of training, my twins were invited to join the team. Oh, the excitement! Then came the contract. (Yes, a contract for seven-year-olds).   The decision whether to sign up was difficult because of the significant time and financial commitment involved.

Sure, a back handspring is impressive! And there’s nothing inherently wrong about kids being involved in sports or extracurricular activities, but as parents, we have to constantly ask ourselves, is that skill and that temporary enjoyment more important than investing in eternity by caring for our neighbors and church family and spreading the gospel?  We always need to ponder this question when raising our kids, and we always need to seek how God would desire for us to proceed. 

God gives us each day, and this time on earth is valuable. 

Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2:4

It is vitally important for my family–our families—to spend the time God has gifted us looking out for the interests of others and sometimes that means sacrificing the time that we would otherwise use attending gymnastics practices many hours each week.  If we use the time that God gives us in a beneficial way that is honoring to Him, we can all be a light and shine God’s love to others.

My oldest daughter has worked at Camp Beechpoint for several summers. Many of the campers are at-risk, urban youth who come from very low income families.  One camper wore a sweatshirt all week because she was too embarrassed to wear a t-shirt without an undergarment. Another camper wore the same pair of underwear and washed them by hand each night. Camp continually helps these youth by awarding scholarships to attend camp and meeting many of their needs by providing food, clothing, and bedding. However, there is a limit to how much Camp Beechpoint can do with the resources that they have. Our gymnastics dollars went to support these youth by supplying them with necessary items that many people take for granted.                            

Although we decided that it was best for our girls not to join the team, please know that my family enjoys sports. From competing in sports, my older kids have learned life-long lessons like handling pressure, time management, and how not to wilt from the criticism of a coach.  My girls will still participate in sports, but it isn’t our main focus. My husband and I are making difficult decisions, but we are making decisions in light of eternity and in the Lord. Look to the Holy Spirit to lead you in making everyday decisions that honor God. 

Love, Renee Drees