Responder #5 (father of 3 girls and 4 boys)
I appreciate your humility in asking for multiple perspectives…….that is wise since this is a subjective area (at least subjective to a point……we can find ourselves over committed where we lose sight of what’s truly important---that would become much more objective).
When we reached 5 kids, we started having these discussions as I looked around and saw what I consider negative examples (not negative in a sinful sense necessarily) but negative in the sense that I did not want to duplicate the busy-ness of some families related to sports…….in other words, I did not want a sports ran home.
We decided (and now it’s much more concrete since we have 7 kids) that age 11-12 would be the starting point for any organized sports. That doesn’t mean they couldn’t do activities such as AWANA Olympics, games with the family and friends in the neighborhood, etc. but we elected not to start until they reached that age range. There’s nothing special about that age. We just thought it was a good time to commence with organized sports more out of parental survival than anything else. Now with three involved in basketball, our Sept through March is crazy………I cannot imagine adding two others (which would be a 9 and barely 11 year old) into that mix…..while caring for a 2 and 3 year old.
In short, our strategy was to look at it from the larger, long term perspective. I think 6 years of organized sports before they leave our home is gracious……..it’s a gift, not a given in our lives.
Also, we decided that each child must pick a sport (uno—one)... we could not see ourselves going from Spring to Summer to Fall to Winter sports... so far, all three older ones have chosen basketball so we did not have to try a couple to determine which one they would stick with long term.
That’s our current strategy but as stated above, it’s subjective and ultimately you and Anita have to simply make a decision as to what you think is best for your family (time, finances, focus, etc.) and see how it goes. One thing that I have learned is we must maintain a level of humility to be able to come back to our kids and say we are going to adjust our perspective based on how things are going (not simply related to this issue but any life issue that requires wisdom/experience to get right).
Thanks again for asking. I hope this helps.