Minnesota Viking Kirk Cousins is one of the NFL’s most highly prized and highly priced quarterbacks. While pressed in a career of leading and audibilizing – his inspiration quickly throws to fathering – once as a son and now as a dad! His wife Julie, and boys Cooper and Turner reflect a bigger perspective for Kirk to navigate through the ups and downs of both life and the game.
Kirk Cousins: “My Heavenly Father will allow painful experiences to come into my life from time to time. Much like I need to allow my own children to fail and to experience a setback and understand that’s part of life and so I can go through a challenge, a loss, an injury, a frustration, undue criticism! I can endure that knowing that God can use this! He’s not wasting it and it’s not for nothing! So there’s purpose and there’s meaning and as a result I take great comfort in it.”
Question: “What does fatherhood give you?”
Kirk Cousins: “Well fatherhood has been a joy, it’s been a challenge and it certainly takes a lot of energy! You know, when I leave you start a whole new chapter of work when you come home and it really gives me a picture of what my Heavenly Father is like, looking at me. For the first time I truly have a picture of maybe what it’s like when I have to discipline my son or say ‘no’ or take him away from something that could hurt him. It paints a cool picture.”
Question: “What is it about that child-likeness that you find yourself borrowing?”
Kirk Cousins: “There’s just those moments when you see his trust in me. He doesn’t want me to leave, there’s a dependence there. He reaches for me and just those moments are so special but also then makes me think you know does my heart yearn and trust my Heavenly Father the way my son’s heart yearns for me and trust me? And it just kind of drives you to place of humility, a place of surrender and a place of – really – gratitude!”
Question: “How have those kids redefined wonder for you?”
Kirk Cousins: “(Laughs) When they experience things for the first time – big eyes and a big smile and I get so much joy out of seeing them experience that! I can’t wait to take them to amusement parks or I can’t wait for them to try food that I love and show them some much joy and so many unique experiences and opportunities ahead of you. I can’t wait to expose them to really all that football has brought our family I think they’re gonna have some thrills a bad as a result of being able to be close to that.”
Question: “What’s most urgent for you to deposit into their lives now?”
Kirk Cousins: “Well my children are so young they see what I’m doing and they imitate. And so it’s so important for me and my wife to have good eye contact and listen and be patient and be present and not be on my phone and engage with them and be kind and loving so they can respond when they inevitably meet another kid who may push them or shove them to maybe learn that OK when I upset my parents they respond with grace and kindness and I wanna do the same.”
Question: “What do you gratefully admire most about your dad?”
Kirk Cousins: “I was fortunate to have a dad who was very involved, very present, very wise. Just about every experience we had through the years my dad would bring back to our faith walk and our faith journey. So it was pretty hard to go a day or a week and not go through something without scripture being accompanied to it so it would be a great thing if I parented close to the way my mom and dad raised me!”
Question: “The most impacting instruction he gave you was …”
Kirk Cousins: “Was based out of Galatians 6:7, ‘do not be deceived God is not mocked, a man reaps what he sows’. When you make good decisions good things happen. When you make bad decisions bad things happen. And it was so simple. You know, the decisions you make are going to become the life that you live! What do you want those consequences to be? And so walking with God, obeying God, understanding what His word says and applying it to your life became so important!”
Question: “Does it ever playback for you out here on the field?”
Kirk Cousins: “Plays back every day because as a quarterback the number one trait of a quarterback is to be a great decision maker. If you don’t make the decisions with the football on your hands -- no other quarterback trait really matters! It comes down to your decision-making and obviously, you can get better and better as a decision-maker as you play, and get reps and go through experiences and learn, but football’s the same as life: you've got to be a great decision maker to have success.”
Question: “Those guys down there that are your friends and teammates, diverse backgrounds, polar opposites, a lot of them experiencing -- failed fathering. What do you find to be the most common denominator that everybody that is fatherless craves?”
Kirk Cousins: “Well this concept is a passion of mine because I have had so many teammates from so many different backgrounds and so many of them grew up without a dad. Someone truly leading and guiding them responsibly and with maturity. And then I look and I see some teammates who grew up in very difficult backgrounds - very tough neighborhoods, very poor schooling and yet had a dad, a dad who was present in their life, loved them, cared for them and raised them and you see how they were able to overcome so many adverse circumstances that were thrown in their life! You know I don’t want the dad to feel any shame but I don’t want the son to feel that their needs to be blame. I want the son to be able to say - a fresh start - forgiveness - the ground is level - and then let me maybe break that cycle with my children.”
Question: “What about the individual who hears Heavenly Father? There’s nothing heavenly about my father!"
Kirk Cousins: “Part of the reason they struggle with becoming a Christian or believing that there is a God is because their earthly father was such a bad example that it’s hard for them to understand a relationship with a Heavenly Father.”
Question: “Those that are wandering from fatherlessness, look them in the eye and what would you tell them?
Kirk Cousins: “First of all my heart breaks for you …There is a Heavenly Father, a perfect Heavenly Father who desires a relationship with you so much so that he sent his son to die for you … He doesn’t put any shame on you or on your dad … there’s forgiveness, there’s restoration and redemption and God wants a fresh start, a clean slate, find the freedom and the peace and the healing when you come into relationship with your Heavenly Father.”