By the time you most likely get around to reading this column, Santa will have returned to the North Pole and all those gifts under your tree will be unwrapped -- but, unfortunately, the bills for them not paid.
And that means one thing: It's time to start thinking about your New Year's resolution(s). How about considering these:
Allow your kids to truly play sports with friends and not interfere. Often our rules that we think kids should play by cause more tears than cheers. As much as we'd like to think otherwise, our kids usually have more fun when we parents aren't involved.
Don't let it bother you if your child chooses to play sports other than those you played as a kid. Mine chose not to follow in my footsteps and opt for basketball as his career.
OK, I never made a dime playing basketball, but it was always a dream. His dream is to be a pro baseball player, just in case his NHL career doesn't pan out. Every kid should have a dream, and we parents shouldn't try to squelch them, regardless of how far-fetched they may seem.
Don't get upset every time you have to go out and buy a piece of sports equipment. The lessons, mostly good and some bad, my son is learning while playing sports are like the memories on the credit card commercials -- priceless. And we parents spend money on a lot of items that not only don't teach us lessons but are detrimental to our health as well.
Appreciate the friendships you and your children are forming being involved in youth sports; fun times that last far beyond when the final horn sounds; memories that he'll look back on and cherish well after his NHL and MLB careers are over (hopefully mine will figure out a third career choice).
And of course there are the friendships I've formed with the parents. Have you ever conversed over a cup of coffee in a 30-degree ice rink at 6 a.m.? I get chills just thinking about it.
Don't get depressed when you hear stories about knucklehead parents acting as if their kid's game is a life-or-death situation. Instead, continue to stress all of the positives in amateur sports. After all, 90 percent of the parents involved in youth sports are there for the right reasons, we just don't hear about them.
And last but not least, go out of your way to only say positive things to your child before, during and most importantly, after the game. Think back to the last time your boss criticized you -- how did it feel? And he or she pays you to perform.
Wouldn't these resolutions be wonderful for all youth sports parents to make? And wouldn't it be nice if we didn't have to make them again next year and the year after.
Unlike most other resolutions, these resolutions can have far greater lasting effects.
Here's to a happy, healthy New Year.
Jon Buzby's columns appear in newspapers and magazines around the country as well as numerous websites. Email your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.