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Monday, January 9, 2012

The Crazy Train

I spent the whole weekend on the crazy train. 

You know that feeling you have when you get off a boat after a day of fun on the water and you're standing on solid ground but you still feel like you're swaying in the boat on the water when you legs feel all wobbly and weak?  That's how I feel today.  I have a temporary respite from the crazy train and then it's back on it again this evening...

The crazy train is the one that takes the kiddos to and from all of their activities. 

The kids took the crazy train all over the place this weekend.  Stan, Zach and Lucas were in two different cities in Maryland for hockey.  Claire was here, going and going and going with hours of dance followed by hours of swimming at the first meet of the new year. 

It was while I was at the swim meet that one of my friends, Cassandra, and I got to wondering why...why do we do all of this?  Why do we power through life on a crazy train?  What benefit is it to our kids?  Is it beneficial?

These are the questions that are running through my head today.  Not only were Cassandra and I talking about this but Stan and I were also talking about this the other day.  How do we strike a balance between doing what the kids want to do, what's good for them and what's good for the family? 

When Cassandra and I were talking at the meet we were wondering what is it that we are looking to get out of all of this for our kiddos. 

Are the boys going to go to the NHL and play hockey?  More than likely the answer is a resounding "NO."  But could they get a scholarship to play in college?  Who knows?  Right now the boys put in at least three hours of practice a week and sacrafice weekends to travel all up and down the Eastern Seaboard to find other worthy opponents.  To what end?   

Claire with her passion for swim and dance is going to have to make a huge decision next year, and she knows it.  Swim or dance?  Right now, she swims seven hours a week and dances eight hours a week.  Heading into middle school, with a tougher academic schedule, she's not going to be able to keep up with school work and both of these time consuming activities.  There aren't enough hours in the day.

When we were kids it wasn't this way...not for most of us, anyway.  The elite athletes had this kind of schedule.  Now the kids are channeled into the world of travel sports at an early age and pushed beyond all limits. 

I look at Claire's schedule and I cringe.  She asked to do it all, her last "big hurrah" year before heading off to middle school but I still cringe.  It's too much and she knows it now but it's too late to back out of anything for this year. 

The thing I keep coming back to, though, is that these activities keep the kids busy and out of trouble.  What would they be doing if they weren't at practice or dance or swim or traveling to play games?

I asked the question above, "to what end?"  But does there need to be an end?  Can't this all just be for fun, for friends and for staying out of trouble?  I think that's why we climb on board the crazy train every day.  It's not a bad place to be, just a little crazy.  But if they give the word, we'll disembark from the train and find a different way to fill their time. 

So for now I'll contine to say "ALL AHHHH---BOARD!" for the love of our children...


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