Parenting from the sidelines

I always grew up watching and playing sports, participating in any event offered by my school. My parents, like many others, often followed the team at home and on the road as they cheered for our wins and offered consolation in the defeat. As I tried to focus on doing my best to help the team, I always knew my parents were watching, cheering, and analyzing my skills on the court. Of course, my parents were not the only ones critiquing the team’s performance. The parent section was often filled with proud moms and dads anxiously awaiting the emergence of the next Michael Jordan, Bill Russell, or Steph Curry (depending

The parent section was often filled with proud moms and dads anxiously awaiting the emergence of the next Michael Jordan, Bill Russell, or Steph Curry (depending on your generation). Each of these parents demonstrated a variation of sideline coaching styles from the passive and laid back to the hyper-intense. My dad was always the quiet, contemplative type who waited until the car ride home to offer his game analysis, while other dads chose to express their parental coaching in the moment.

The same trend continues today as many parents follow their child through various venues of competition, offering in-game tips, techniques, and encouragement from the sideline. Regardless of the approach, the end goal remains the same; every parent wants to help their child succeed and will find any means necessary to assist the athlete toward the goal.

My mind immediately begins to search for ways in which we evidence that kind of passion and strategy in our own parenting. As we desire to see our own children grow to reach their spiritual goals, we ought to search for ways in which we are passionately offering spiritual tips, techniques, and encouragement just as we would on the court or field of competition. Why is it so easy for us to have conversations about athletic events and shout about changes that need to be made in the game, but when we get to spiritual things we become intimidated, silent, or noticeably absent from influencing our children? Parents, we need to be the strongest cheerleader and guide for our child’s spiritual development. Avoid the temptation to skip the spiritual arena, leaving the coaching to someone else. Certainly, the church or the Christian school can provide a positive environment, but nothing can replace the spiritual coaching that comes from a parent.

God has given us an incredible opportunity to be used as a coach for God’s purpose in the life of our children. Let’s be sure that we are intentionally creating conversations that will teach our children the truth of God’s Word and how to live it effectively our world.

AvatarDenny Vauters