Parenting Guru: Fall Means Football

Like most houses this time of year, ours is decked out in ghosts, scarecrows, and spider webs, but that's just a part of the season's excitement. Look beyond the Halloween-y fun and you'll find our alma mater's flag waving over our garage. Our living room mantle is decorated not with mini pumpkins, but with mini PAC-12 helmets -- all arranged according to this upcoming weekend's game schedule. On our coffee table is my 2nd grader's write ups of the last two weeks' match-up predictions and results.

Yes, it's college football season.

Since my husband and I met while at UCLA, we're lucky our loyalties lie in the same place, and we've always enjoyed cheering on our team together. (Ok, "enjoy" may be too light of a word for my husband's relationship with the Bruins, but just go with it…) So it's no surprise that since our little ones learned to talk, they've been cheering right along side us, too.

And while we certainly do love the game -- especially those wins -- we also appreciate how the games bring our friends together. Whether we've packed 20 people into our living room, or are sitting in the stands among thousands, we're a part of something bigger.

The blue and gold represent life-long friendships we made all those years ago, and continue to grow in new ways as our families expand. They also represent new friendships made through that common bond. They remind us of our fun-loving, carefree days when 6 a.m. wasn't considered sleeping in. They fill us with pride -- for the education we worked for and the places that work took us.

And our kids? They love being able to sit alongside their dad and share in the highs and lows. They study the rules of the game, do a surprising amount of math, and learn some great lessons about loyalty, sportsmanship, and hard work.

To some, football may seem frivolous. But to us, it's a common bond that brings us entertainment, camaraderie, and a real thrill (or a lesson in defeat).

Sure, this time of year we sing 5 Little Pumpkins just like other families. But only after we're done with our 8-claps.

Amy is a Shine Parenting Guru. When she's not prepping for game day, she's writing about her baby Bruins at her slice-of-life parenting blog, Using Our Words. Be sure to follow her on Facebook and Twitter.