By Jenifer Armstrong, published by Angela Weight at January 22, 2016

The other night someone asked me, “Why do you pay so much money for your boys to play sports?” Well I have a confession to make, I don’t pay for sports.

So if I am not paying for sports, what am I paying for? I pay for those moments when my boys become so tired they want to quit but don’t. I pay for those days when my boys come home from school and are “too tired” to go to practice but go anyway. I pay for my boys to learn to take care of their body. I pay for my boys to learn to work with others and to be good teammates. I pay for my boys to learn to deal with disappointment, when they don’t get that position they hoped for, but still have to work hard at the position that they have been asked to play. I pay for my boys learn to make and accomplish goals. I pay for my boys to learn that it takes hours and hours and hours and hours of hard work and practice to create something beautiful, and that success does not happen overnight. I pay for my boys to learn time management. I pay for the opportunity my boys have and will have to make life-long friendships.

I could go on, but to be short, I don’t pay for sports, I pay for the opportunities that sports provide my boys to develop attributes that will serve them well throughout their lives and give them the opportunity to bless the lives of others. From what I have seen so far, I think it is a great investment!

I am sure that other parents get similar questions. “Why do you pay for dance?” “Why do you pay for softball?” “Why do you pay for band?” “Why do you pay for cheer?”…. I just think it is important to realize what we are really paying for.

You see just a few weeks ago, my son Caleb was asked to tell what the greatest lesson baseball had taught him was, and his answer was this…”how to face failure!” That is such a profound statement! Every day, we each face failures in our own lives. How do we handle those failures? Do we hang our heads and just give up? Or do we decide to get up and make a change? Do we truly live life like a 3-2 count? Are you the pitcher in this instance who is determined to get the strike out? Or the batter determined to get on base? Either way, one word remains…determined.

Determination is the key to any success.

Colby was asked to play a position in soccer this year that he had never played, and quite honestly, didn’t really want to play. But he did, and he did it well. He could have complained and whined. But instead, he decided that it was what his team needed. So he worked and learned to be the best he could be at that position for himself and his team. What a life lesson!

How often as adults are we asked to do something outside of our comfort zone?

Kids are still kids, and sometimes they want to quit. They want to whine. They want to blame others for things that they themselves have done. Heck, adults still do that! But as parents, we must see the big picture for our children when they can’t see it. Quitting and complaining will not get you where you want to go. Hard work, determination and attitude will.

I’m thankful for the lessons sports have taught my boys. But most importantly, I’m thankful that God blessed my boys with the ability to be able to play the sports they love. You see, so many children around us are not able due to health and other reasons. So I have always told my boys to play hard for themselves, for the ones who cannot… and for God to get the glory.

May you live life today like a 3-2 count!

Originally published as “Why I don’t pay for sports,” by Jenifer Armstrong via Angela Weight at January 22, 2016. Republished here with author and publisher permission.