Let's Parent on Purpose

April 16, 2023

Ep. 325 : Are Youth Sports and Extracurricular Activities Enslaving Your Family?

Youth sports have become a multibillion dollar business in the United States. In search of the tantalizing promise of a college scholarship, many parents sacrifice years and thousands of dollars to keep their child competitive on sports teams. Even the casual sporting family must make difficult decisions on how much they are willing to commit to sports or other extracurricular activities. In this episode Jay walks parents through a list of questions to help them determine the level of involvement their family is willing to invest in ever consuming culture.

Questions to ask when considering how involved your family should get in youth sports or other extracurricular activities:


  • Why are we wanting to do this?

    • Is this something the child wants or something the parent wants?

    • If it’s something the child wants, does that mean its the best thing?


  • What are the short term costs of getting involved in this activity?

    • How much money does it cost to sign up?

    • How much does it costs in equipment or other gear (including shoes)

    • What are the expenses involved per event?

      • Tickets to watch

      • Travel costs – food, hotel, gas

      • Am I going to require private training or tutoring?

    • How many days and nights a week?

    • What are the things we currently do during those night that we will no longer be able to do?

      • Rest

      • Homework

      • Family time

      • Date your spouse

      • Church


  • What are the long term costs of getting involved with this sport?

    • Multiply the short term expenses by the number of seasons per year and years of potential play

    • What kinds of sacrifices are you and your family going to have to make to stay committed at this level?

    • Am I setting my child up for a high likelihood of injury due to repetitive motion in the same sport being played all year?

    • What is the environment of the team and the people involved?

    • How much family or spouse time are you missing?


  • What am I communicating to myself, my family, my neighbors, my peers, my children’s peers, my church, and God through my interaction in this activity?

    • Are we a sports family?

    • Are we slaves to our children’s wants?

    • What is sacred in our lives?

    • Who do we serve?


  • Am I playing a form of lottery with my child’s educational future?

    • Is my excuse for investing in this activity so heavily that I think they can get a college scholarship?

    • What if I calculated all of my anticipated costs for investing in this sport and put it into a 529 College Savings Plan?


  • Jesus says “no one can serve two masters. you can either hate one and love the other or else be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

    • If someone were to observe our family’s life. Not based on what we SAY but based on what we DO and how we LIVE, who would they conclude that we serve?


  • When my child rearing years are done, and the time I had with my children in the home is just a story, what story do I want to tell?


Resources mentioned:

The Goal of Youth Sports Is Changing


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About Let's Parent on Purpose

Let's Parent on Purpose is a weekly podcast designed to strengthen your marriage, parenting, and personal relationship with Jesus. Host Jay Holland provides examples from God's word, real life success and failure stories, and lots of humility from his 20+ years of student ministry, parenting, foster parenting, and counseling others. Each episode you'll receive an insight or interview that will help you thrive, not just survive your parenting years.

You can find more from Jay at LetsParentOnPurpose.com or follow him on Facebook and Instagram.

About Jay Holland

Jay Holland is a follower of Jesus, a husband to Emily, and the biological and adoptive father of four children. For more than two decades Jay has served as a pastor in family and student ministries, and has walked through multiple special needs challenges within his own family.

Jay’s personal and pastoral experiences led him to launch the weekly Let’s Parent on Purpose podcast to equip and empower moms and dads to build thriving families. He serves at Covenant Fellowship Baptist Church in Stuart, Florida and is also on the board of Hopegivers, a ministry that cares for children and churches in India.


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