This weekend we joined the ranks of thousands of other parents who spent their weekend traveling to sports tournaments with our kids. It's not that we've never done this. Our number #1 participated in a basketball tournament years ago. But that seems small in comparison to this past weekend. This weekend Amy and I shared in the full tournament experience, and we have to say, it was fun!
In the past we have done our best to stay away from sports teams that do a lot of traveling. Being in full-time ministry, traveling on the weekend for tournaments presents a few problems. One, when Sunday is a "work day" it's hard to take that time off. And two, traveling, staying in hotels, eating out, and tournament fees, add up pretty quickly. So when our kids look to play on sports teams, we always have to check to see if the team participates in many tournaments.
Thus far we have been blessed in that the sports and teams that our kids have played for have either chosen not to participate in tournaments, or only participate in local tournaments. So we have done a few, just not many that have required us to stay overnight somewhere.
But this past weekend, we join our #3 sons soccer team in Edinboro, for a weekend tournament. Games started Friday evening and continued through Sunday afternoon. The tournament was huge. I have no idea just how many teams played, but there were a lot!
Going into the weekend, we weren't really sure what to expect. So we had our eyes wide-open as we made our way through the weekend, and I think we learned a few things along the way.
Those two meals helped all of us save a lot of money over the weekend. Everyone brought some kind of side dish or dessert to share, which left us with a ton of delicious food!
Another great savings came in that the hotel offered a free continental breakfast on both Saturday and Sunday.
Sunday morning came and we paid cash for our hotel stay. And when we left for home later that afternoon, we still had money in our pockets.
Budget and plan ahead.
2. Look at the Trip as a Way to Spend Time with Your Kids Doing Something You Wouldn't Normally Do.
- In 2014, we made a conscious decision to be more intentional with our kids. One of the ways we planned to do that was to look for opportunities to create fun memories but experiencing new place and new activities. This weekends tournament helped to fulfill that task. For us, we almost never stay in a hotel, much less a hotel with a pool. Nor have we made many trips as of late to new and "unexplored" areas. This weekend we did both! And then some!!
We tried to make the most of our opportunity, taking every moment as a moment have a laugh, create a memory, or simply just enjoy. The location of the tournament not only made us travel, but we stayed about 20 minutes from Lake Erie. So on Sunday, after the tournament was over, we made the trip to the Lake for a Father's Day lunch at a great restaurant on the Lake. After lunch, we drove out to Presque Isle State Park. It was a beautiful day and we had beautiful views! It was a trip that we might not have made otherwise!
So not only did we get to cheer for #3 and his soccer team, but we also enjoyed some family sightseeing and had a mini-vacation. All activities that opportunities simply because we chose to do something we wouldn't normally do.
3. Take the Time as Chance to Be A Part of the Community that You Live In.
- As a full-time pastor, I believe that it is super important that we as a family be invested in the community around us. And while it's hard sometimes to juggle family-time vs. ministry-time, a weekend like this helps to accomplish both.
First and foremost, this weekend was about family. #3 was playing soccer in a tournament. We were going to support and cheer on our son and his team. And most of the weekend was spent with me being simply a dad sitting on the sidelines watching his kid play. Second, were the pastors family. We live in the church manse. People know that we work at the church. So whether we want to or not, we will always be know as the pastors family.
Now that being said, we love what we do. And we do believe in being a part of the community. While this weekend was mostly about us just being parents, there was still the opportunity to meet and talk with other parents and families from our community. And we did it in a way that mades us approachable because we all shared the same purpose for the weekend; cheering our kids on.
We have also been blessed to have a number of families from the church also on the team. That helps bridge the gap between the pastor and the person. You see, there needs to be a certain authenticity in who we are and what we say we believe. We are parents who struggle to raise our children, stick to a budget, deal with school issues, juggle multiple calendars, and still chase after Jesus. We're not perfect, but we really do love Jesus and we try to do the best we can as we live as disciples. Being authentic is allowing our neighbors to see the imperfections, and hope that God's grace shines brightly through who we are in Christ.
By the time we arrived home we were all exhausted. It was a great weekend of soccer, being with friends, and enjoying some pretty special family-time. We had a few really good laughs, shared some great moments, and added to the list of memories that we're trying to create. It's being intentional. It's being creative. It's being authentic. It's being a family.
- the higham family
Thanks for taking the time to read The Higham Family Blog. Each week we try to share new content about something we are learning, something we love, or something to offer encouragement to the family. We love to hear from our readers, so please share your thought in the comment section of each post.