In battle, there are few things as necessary as brave and ready to fight. You need equipped leaders with you. Being in charge of troops and tactical deployments is a tough and sometimes thank-less job. It is the same with parenting. In this battle for our children’s souls and futures, I liken us to coaches.
Last week, I discussed how we are not here to be their friends or their excuses, but instead to be their teachers and their stability. I also mentioned in the beginning of this series that I was the water girl for my high school football team. During my first half-time experience, I felt like I was listening to a father lay down the law to his children. In future half-time experiences, I learned that it was not the team losing that would upset the coach. If they did their best, even if they were not winning, he would praise them. It was only when they were not working together or playing to their potential that he would get on them. He knew how strong they were.
That same coach, Mr. Underwood, was my math teacher. He knew I struggled on paper and that I had a hard time keeping up in the classroom. When he personally, out of the blue, asked me to be the team’s water girl, I thought it must be a mistake. I was known for my inability to focus and complete projects. When I realized he was serious, I felt so honored. It created a way to encourage me in a different way. It gave me responsibility. He trusted me.
He never excused my late homework or my poor test scores. Rather, he would sit with me until I found my way to solving problem after problem. I developed a respect for this man and his way of teaching and coaching.
He knew my level and instead of stooping to it he helped me raise it. Being a child who faced many struggles in academics I can probably never explain the true pride I had when I brought home my first ‘A’ in math. I wanted to succeed for Mr. Underwood. I wanted to prove to him that his time was not wasted on me.
As parents, let’s recognize the strengths in our children. Encourage their strengths to build confidence in areas in which they struggle.
No child is hopeless. If they struggle in one area, I can assure you that they are brilliant in another. Understanding their weaknesses and strengths is the key to building confidence.
This applies to social situations as well. I know for instance that my oldest daughter is a people pleaser. She worries about acceptance; this means that to coach her I must be ready for her to struggle with peer pressure. Recognizing this helps prepare me for the situations that may arise in the future with her.
A coach does not wait for the failure of his players to begin working with them. Rather he sets out from the start of the season understanding what each player needs in terms of guidance and practice.
So what are the main aspects of being a coach?
To be a leader in your child’s life, you should be the person who gives them the knowledge of right and wrong and the desire to make you proud and God proud with their actions.
A coach does not just hand a play handbook to his players and hope for the best. We in turn cannot just hand our children Bibles and expect that they will do God’s will. Work with your child as they grow to make better choices and to grow in Christ.
We are here to help them understand and to strategize their lives. Play by play we should be on the sidelines with encouragement and answers.
Having a strong person in your life who supports you with godly love and strength is priceless. Being that person in your child’s life will help them feel confident no matter what they face.
Not enabling but understanding where your child may struggle is key. Each child is different and may require a different kind of coaching. Being versatile in the sense that we do not compare the arm of a quarterback to the legs of a running back, yet stable in our rules and expectations, will allow your child to grow up well. We cannot just focus on the bad or failures of our children. A child looks up to the leaders in their lives. If we encourage them correctly, they will become stronger.
We are the coaches God gave our children. Our jobs are so important that their success depends on our efforts. What do you feel a coach should offer in a child’s life?
Next week, come back for the next part of this series, “Who Is In Your Huddle?”