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Do You Pick The Sports/Activities Your Children Participate In?

Posted by on Sep. 11, 2012 at 1:29 PM
  • 35 Replies

Michelle Obama's 'Lesson' for Her Daughters Is Ruining Other Kids' Fun

Posted by Jeanne Sager

Michelle ObamaIn many ways, Michelle Obama seems like the kind of mom we all want to be. Strict but reasonable. Kind. Loving. Fun. But when a list of her rules for daughters Sasha and Malia cropped up online, there was a big red flag.

The First Lady requires her girls to participate in two sports. One they can choose. The other she gets to pick.

The way Mrs. Obama tells it, this is a way of teaching Sasha and Malia what it's like to do something they don't enjoy and improve at it. That's all well and good, but as the wife of a youth soccer coach, I would beg her to find another way.

Youth sports are good for kids. They teach them to enjoy exercise. They give them socialization. And perhaps most importantly, they teach kids about teamwork.

But you know what happens when a member of the team really doesn't want to be there? It tends to bring down the entire team and ruin the fun for the other kids.

I see it every year. There's always one kid who is playing soccer because Mom or Dad told them they had to be there. Or maybe they thought it sounded good at sign-up time, but by the time they have to tuck a set of shin guards into their socks, the shine is off the apple.

What that generally turns into is one kid who is constantly whining, who is always asking to sit out a quarter, who doesn't take practice as seriously as their teammates. It divides the coach's time (nothing like spending half the quarter trying to convince the one kid to get up off the ground and cooperate!), it makes it hard for the other kids to learn, and it's an all-around morale killer. 

I understand the lesson of "we don't always get to do what we like" that Michelle Obama wants to impart. But it hardly seems fair to the other kids, does it? Essentially it sounds like the First Lady thinks it's OK for her kids to be that cranky brat who everybody wishes would just quit already so they can have some fun.

I'm not one of those soccer moms who thinks every kid on the team has to be the next Beckham -- my kid will likely never be any good at the sport. But I do want every kid to have fun out there. So every year we sit down and have a serious discussion before soccer sign-ups. Does she want to do this? Is she sure? Sometimes it doesn't work. We've had our share of bratty moments.

But you can always see how much better the team is when she and the other kids are all having fun, are all happy to be on the field. That doesn't mean they have to win, but they at least get something out of the experience.

Isn't that why we involve kids in youth sports to begin with: so they can develop a lifelong love of moving and doing something positive with other people?

Do you think Michelle Obama's "I pick/you pick" sports philosophy is fair to the other kids her girls play with?

by on Sep. 11, 2012 at 1:29 PM
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by on Sep. 11, 2012 at 1:30 PM
Nope! My oldest is in love with soccer and that was his choice.
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by Platinum Member on Sep. 11, 2012 at 2:45 PM
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My kids are required to do Scouts. Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.

They are also required to chose a sport. My two requirements for the sport are... can afford it?  and does it fit into the weekly schedule?

DS1 wanted to play ice hockey. The closest rink is over an hour away and with team costs, equipment and gas, it's just not do able at all so I made him choose something else.  He chose swim team - it's 3x a week but within a short bike ride, or a long walk from the house... Less than a mile and a doable time.

by Ruby Member on Sep. 11, 2012 at 2:53 PM

The only thing we require our kids to do is Sunday School until they age out of the classes. After that, it's up to them if they join the jr. high youth group. Ds1 has opted to not join, and that is fine w/ us. 

The one exception is that dh is requiring ds1 to earn the religious emblem in Boy Scouts, and I'm ok w/ that. If ds2 stays w/ Scouts, I think he'll want to earn it voluntarily. I'll have to see if Girl Scouts has on if dd stays w/ it long enough.






by on Sep. 11, 2012 at 2:59 PM

Does she mean "sports" or just activities. Like...the girls have to take piano lessons(violin lessons etc) but get to pick the sport they participate in. If that is the case then Im not totally against it, and are they talking 2 sports a year or 2 sports a season. Perhaps they are required to take swimming lessons or be on the swim team in the summer but can choose soccer, dance, or gymnastics during the school year.

by Silver Member on Sep. 11, 2012 at 3:38 PM

Nope, they are capable of picking choosing what they like.

by on Sep. 11, 2012 at 4:18 PM
Depends on the age and the kid. It doesn' t say she allows her children to behave badly and ruin it for everyone else! We gave our daughter choices, but then we make her honor her commitment even on those days where she would rather watch cartoons then go to practice or is too tired to feel like playing that second half.
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by Member on Sep. 11, 2012 at 4:25 PM

My kids get to pick what sports and activities that they do so long as I can afford it at the time, the only rule is if I pay the money and sign them up for something then they have to finish the season weather they like it or not.  My ds has tried t-ball (too slow for him) and soccer (i think the coach he had at the time ruined this for him) and wrestling.  He loves wrestling and I can see him continuing with that for a long time.  He even did some intense summer camps with it this year and he is only 5.  Last year he ranked 6th in the whole state for his weight class and it was his first year.  He also does swimming lessons in the summer.  My dd we have to be pickier about due to health issues, but she does do softball but only with a certain coach who is aware of her medical issues and same with swimming lessons.  She does girl scouts though and I have even become the leader of her troop as this is something she really enjoys and i like doing with her.

by Member on Sep. 11, 2012 at 4:33 PM

My kids get to pick one activity to do each year, and I get to approve it.  I have 4 kids, so having them all doing 3 different sports/activities isn't in our budget or our schedule!

by Gold Member on Sep. 11, 2012 at 4:40 PM
My daughter surfs. I hate that she surfs......but I will never try to stop her.
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by on Sep. 11, 2012 at 4:45 PM
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Big assumption here that just because the kids didn't originally want to participate in a sport that they are a "cranky brat" ruining everyone else's fun. My daughter didn't originally want to take swim lessons but I thought, for safety reasons, that she should learn.  She went, and *absolutely loved* it from the first class.  Ditto with is now her favorite sport, and I knew she would love it even though she was hesitant. So just because a parent, who knows their kid well, suggests a sport the kid didn't come up with themselves, does NOT mean that the kid will be miserable and cranky.  People are sooo judgemental...maybe Ms Obama is pretty good at knowing her kids, and what they would like, and coming up with sport ideas that they might not have picked themselves, but that they end up really enjoying.  Given their values, I'm pretty sure that the Obamas are teaching their kids good sportsmanship, courtesy, team spirit, etc. so I'd be surprised if they are ruining anyone else's fun. 

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