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TEXT: Titus 2:4
SUBJECT: Family Life #35: Soccer Moms
Today is the fourth Sunday afternoon of the month and time for another talk on Family Life. I want to underscore the word, talk, because that's what I have for you. It's not a sermon or a lecture, but an informal talk on a subject of real importance, but also one that hasn't been thought through very carefully, it seems to me. I don't have all the answers, of course, but I do have some questions that we'll have to answer in time, if we're going to have the family life that Jesus Christ wants us to have.
The topic is soccer moms.
I never heard the term until two or three years ago when soccer moms emerged as a voting bloc. The Democrats had the unions, the Republicans had the businessmen, but who would have the soccer moms?
When I first heard the term, I wondered How many mothers play soccer? And why would both parties be courting them so enthusiastically? But then I learned that soccer moms are not the few mothers who play soccer, but a very different group-and a big one too.
A soccer mom, is a middle-class married woman between the ages of 25 and 50 (or thereabouts) who spends a great deal of her time shuttling her kids to soccer practice, to music lessons, to Little League games, to ballet classes, to youth group, and so on.
If a soccer mom has-let's say-three kids, her calendar looks something like this:
Monday: Piano lessons for David, 3:30-4:00, ballet for Nancy, 5:00-6:30, soccer practice for Billy, 6:45-8:00.
Tuesday: Flute lessons for Nancy, 4:15-5:00, Little League for David, 5:30-6:30, Girl Scouts for Nancy, 7:00-8:45.
Wednesday: Violin lessons for Billy, 3:15-4:00, swimming lessons for David, 5:00-6:30, Youth Group for the kids, 7:00-9:00.
Thursday: Ballet lessons for Nancy, 5:00-6:30, soccer game for Billy, 6:00-7:30, Little League Game for David, 5:30-7:00 (carpool with Tommy, pick him up after Billy's game, 7:45).
Friday: Swimming lessons for Billy, 4:15-5:00, David's piano recital, 7:00-8:30, Nancy's sleepover with Betty, starting at 9:00.
Saturday: Pick up Nancy at Betty's, 8:30, Billy's soccer game, 9:00-10:30, David's Little League game, 11:00-2:00, Nancy's ballet presentation, 3:30-5:00, David's computer class at Ohlone College, 7:00-9:30.
If this sounds silly and exaggerated to you-you don't know the half of it. I've seen real calendars far busier than the one I made up. And all this shuttling is done in addition to keeping the house, and, often, working outside the home as well.
Whatever you think of soccer moms, you cannot say they're lazy.
There's a lot to be said for soccer moms. Some conservative pastors lambaste them, but, in many ways, I admire them. Two things, in particular can be said in their praise:
Some mothers simply don't care for their children-at least not much. Oh, they may want the best for them in a dreamy way, but they also allow them to loaf around the house all day, to watch TV half the night, and stare to into the computer screen till their eyes bulge out. Soccer moms are not this way at all. They want their kids to be physically fit, to be well-educated, and to have an appreciation for the music or dance or other the fine arts. So they sign them up for everything.
They don't sign them up for music lessons or soccer or a computer class and let others take them, pick them up, and keep an eye on them. No, the moms do it themselves, making a real sacrifice of time and energy. Soccer moms often stay up late to do the laundry or to pay the bills or to do other things they could have done earlier if they hadn't cared so much about their kids.
In thinking about my talk, I tried to find a soccer mom in the Bible. And, after a good deal of looking, I came up with her. She's the lady of Proverbs 31. You know her better as the Virtuous Woman. She takes fine care of her kids both inside the home and outside of it too.
Along with my very hearty admiration for soccer moms, I also feel some twinges of concern.
Tina is a soccer mom with six kids. On Monday she takes Peter to basketball practice, Paul to music lessons, James to his soccer game, John to a computer class, Mary to the swim club, and Martha to her dance lesson. It's amazing how much Tina can do between 3:30 and 8:00.
But her husband, Tom, gets home at 5:30, comes into a dark and cold house, heats up a casserole in the microwave, and eats alone. Later, he wants to talk to his wife, but she's got no time-the kids have homework and she's got a mountain of laundry to do. As they get into bed that night, Tom says, "Want to do something?" but Tina's sound asleep.
If this happened occasionally, it would be no big deal. The husband shouldn't be such a baby about things! But, remember, this is every day for some men.
Before long, Tina and Tom don't know each other any more. At the very least, Tom feels lonely and frustrated. And maybe he starts looking for someone else. Do you think an unhappy dad is good for the kids? If not, soccer moms must beware of loving their kids at the cost of not loving their husbands.
Please understand: not all soccer moms are this way, nor is ever soccer dad as sensitive as Tom is. But, remember, this is a temptation to which soccer moms are unusually subject.
If music lessons, soccer practice, and dance classes are jeopardizing your marriage, keep the marriage and drop the other stuff.
Every soccer mom says she does it all for her family. But I wonder what she means by family? Does she mean for each of her five kids? If so, that's not her family. A family is not one father, one mother, two daughters and three sons. It's all of them together. Activities that divide the family every night in the name of personal enrichment don't enrich; they impoverish.
Plato, for all of his follies, had one thing right: Man is a social animal, that is to say, he doesn't develop in doing his own thing by himself, but by living his life with others-especially his family.
I don't know, maybe my values are all wrong, but I'd rather have three ordinary boys who like each other's company than a brilliant musician, a star player, and a computer whiz who can't stand being home.
Personal development is good-but not at the family's expense. If you're kids are so busy they can't talk to each other, you should help them become less busy.
Let me be very dogmatic about this: there is no substitute for Bible-reading, prayer, and meditation. If you can read the Bible while your son plays soccer, meditate through your daughter's ballet class, and pray while driving from one to the other-go at it!
But if you cannot, you need to put first things first. Your salvation is more important than your boy's game or your girl's recital. If you can have them both-wonderful! But if you can't-and only you know that-then you need to remember what our Lord said to that very dear friend of His,
"Martha, Martha, you are worried about many
things. But there is one thing needful."
I won't labor this, but remember, that, though a woman's first calling is to take care of her family, it is not her only role in life. Christian women ought to be good church members and neighbors. Are these roles consistent with running yourself ragged every day on wholesome, but unnecessary activities?
If you're a moderate soccer mom, what do you do? You keep up the good work! Helping your kids to develop their bodies and sharpen their minds is good work! Even if they don't appreciate it now. The kids who gripe and moan about having to learn piano or take dance lessons, will know better when they grow up. Godly and moderate soccer moms will one day receive the virtuous woman's reward,
"Her children rise up and call her blessed".
Don't let others make you feel guilty about what you do. Some people are long on opinion but short on good sense. They'll lecture you on what a rotten wife and mother you are, and so on. But, frankly, it's none of their business. The only man my wife answers to is me. If your husband is pleased with what you're doing and you've got a good conscience about it, keep it up and let your critics criticize themselves. That'll keep them busy!
If you're an extreme soccer mom, you've got to repent of it. Sports and music are not God and they must not have your worship. If doing these things is consistent with godliness, do them by all means, and the Lord be with you. But if they're not-if they dominate your life, leaving you no time for your husband or your soul or your church, you've got to cut back on them. Even if you're a Type A personality and want everything for your kids.
And speaking of this, let me remind you: Your kids cannot have it all. I don't care what the beer commercial says-nobody can have it all because nobody can live more than one life. Now, you've got to choose what life you will live and what life you will teach your kids to live.
May God give you the wisdom to choose wisely. For Christ's sake. Amen.
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