The other day I saw a father, mother and two sons on the line in front of me at Dunkin Donuts. It was obvious that they had just come from a soccer game. The two young boys were dressed in thin shorts and tee shirts, while their parents were dressed warmly in jeans and thick jackets. The two boys never stopped shivering the entire five minutes we were in line together.

What is going on in society when we are making our kids play sports, in every kind of foul weather, including rain, snow and icy winds just for the pleasure of watching them participate in some kind of sport? It seems that we are living vicariously through our kids no matter what the cost is to them or us. Whatever happened to calling off a game because it is too cold or too wet?

When did we start playing sports on Mother's Day? I always remember being home with my mother and our family on mom's special day. We would all be huddled around my mother, making sure that she enjoyed her "well deserved" day of rest.

When did we start having our children play sports on Thanksgiving? This warm, wonderful day of giving and thanks used to be a special day to share with family and friends. We would spend the entire day eating, relaxing and enjoying the ones we loved. We would never have wasted a precious minute worrying about dragging our kids away from their warm houses to play a game (in the cold) three towns away.

It seems that we are now so preoccupied with driving our kids from one place to another, that we have lost sight of what is really important.

When did the family start playing second fiddle to sports? I can still remember spending the entire summer playing with my friends, and maybe if I was lucky, going to the shore with my parents for a day.

These days, kids are already playing school sports in July.

Summer (when I was a kid) was always a time for kids to be kids and for parents to enjoy them as such. School was from September to May and summer was for kids and families to relax and get to know each other again.

Parents and kids today are spending every free hour away from school and work running from one sports practice to another. What every happened to families spending dinner-time together? I have seen frozen, tired, kids playing sports, sometimes in the dark, with sprained wrists, cuts and bruises, while parents cheer them on from the warmth of a bleacher blanket and a cup of hot chocolate.

Whatever happened to hugging your kids and telling them that it's alright just to be a kid and that they don't have to prove their worth on a sports field? Sports are great, but they can't rule our lives and influence our decisions.

Families need to spend more quality time together at home and less time competing with the neighbors. If our neighbor's kids play three sports, our kids need to play four? If our neighbor takes an expensive vacation why do we have to do them one better? Competition and stress are slowly draining the magic out of our families.

We need to hold our kids more. We need to turn off the TV and take out the board games. We need to interact with our kids on a more personal level. We need to talk to them more and even occasionally read to them. Let's start spending more time with our families and less time driving to malls and endless game practices.

When did iPods replace a good book? Let's start to de-electrify and simplify ours lives. Let's put down the cell phones and start talking to our families and friends face-to-face.

Less can be better and a lot more fun.
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