We had another knock-out 3-day tournament weekend for the Jeubs, and that immediately following a 4-day tournament in Texas. We’re exhausted, but what a fruitful time! We brought home a box of trophies and certificates, but that’s not why we knock ourselves out. We do it because the activity has a tremendous amount of value.
And we do “knock ourselves out.” Wendy typically stays home with the littlest kids (Hannah, Josiah, Havilah, Joshua, Priscilla, Zechariah) while I bring the older kids (Cynthia, Lydia, Isaiah, Micah, Noah, Tabitha, Keilah). Sometimes we swap these roles. Tournaments are early up and late to bed. We eat on the run and help out at the tournaments. We are running around with our judging flowpads and cameras. Reflecting back on these tournaments, we sometimes ask, “Why are we trading relaxing weekends for this?”
Let me count the ways, for I believe these ways are criterion for any activity a family chooses. Speech and debate has all these things wrapped up in it. We love it, and we’ll continue to “knock ourselves out” for it.
Here they are…
- Educational. We homeschool, so whenever possible we create a “fun” activity into an “educational” activity. Speech and debate has educational value written all over it. But even the non-academic activities do, too. Whenever we travel, we take advantage of seeing the educationally valuable sites and make a point to learn wherever we go.
- Character building. The debate organization we belong to is explicitly a Christian Homeschool Speech & Debate organization. While we drive our kids to strive for excellence, we likewise emphasize that the training they are receiving is for bigger things beyond the prizes. The skills they learn should have eternal purpose, not selfish gain.
- Social. The community of speakers and debaters we participate in are exceptional. Their fellow competitors are top-notch, spiritually focused, and educationally driven. Truthfully, we aren’t able to find a better community of people.
- Fun. All work and no play wouldn’t make competition enjoyable to our family. These tournaments are a blast. Come to think of it, we choose skiing as a family activity because of how much fun it is, but we limit it to once a year because, well, all it is is fun. Point is: it is good to have fun with your kids.
For these four reasons, we choose the activity of speech and debate for our family. What about you? What criteria do you use, and what activities do you choose?