Today was my son’s first Upward’s Basketball game. I was very excited to be able to watch him play, as I know that he was also very excited. As I watched him run around the court, chase the ball, and throw his hands up to play defense; I made a few observations concerning my parenting and training in his life both on and off the court.
Peyton is the oldest of two boys, at five years of age. Eli is now four months old and I am still having to relearn some skills I had once learned when Peyton was still an infant. Therefore, I am reluctant to write on a topic to which I am still very much aware that I am a novice; parenting. So, I will tread very lightly and pray that it is received well.
For the last few months, my family and I have been traveling on full time deputation and have not been at home very often. Upwards Basketball practice started in early December while we were yet on the road. Many of the scheduled practices could not be attended, and that was very evident today for the first game.
As I watched Peyton play, I realized very quickly that he does not have a basic understanding of the rules of basketball, and in particular, Upward’s rules for his age group. He would try to guard players that he was not assigned to. He did not know when he should go to the opposite end of the court, and he did not understand when he had to come out of the game for a substitution. All of these of which would certainly have been covered in practice.
Quite frankly, it was unfair for me to expect him to know anything about basketball without having been to practice. It was unfair for my expectations to be that he would know what to do and when to do it. I began thinking about ways I could help him, instruct him, practice with him a little more on our time so that he could be brought up to speed.
And then I thought about this…
How many other areas in life have I had far greater expectations for my son, than the training he has received? Conviction set in. Bible verses flooded my mind and heart. I then smiled, and simply cheered for my boy as he had a good time just running around with his friends.
The truth is, that as a parent, we have all had far greater expectations for our children, yet have often failed to teach them how to achieve those expectation.
Without training, without practices, we put them in the game of life and trust that they know what they are doing. If they shoot the ball in the wrong goal, or throw the ball to the opposite team, we get frustrated or turn away from watching all together. This cannot be so! It is my responsibility to teach and instruct my son how to play the game. It is my responsibility to show him how to grow into a man, and may I add a man of God!
Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
This is a great verse on raising children, we use it all the time, but notice what the second half says. “…when he is old, he will not depart from it.” The training and raising of our children will often take a lifetime before they catch it. I can tell you that there are life lessons that I am still learning from my dad. I cannot expect to give my five year old son a fifteen minute block of instruction, a bible verse, and a pat on the rear end and then throw him in the game!
I want to teach my son to love God and to serve Him. This training shouldn’t stop because he hears enough lessons, learns enough bible, or reaches a certain age. The “way he should go” aspect of his life will certainly take years and years of life on life investment. It has been said by men that I love and respect; “your children are your greatest disciples.” May that be true of my life!
It has also been said by these same men, “It is more caught than taught.” May my life represent the Lord Jesus Christ, and my my children see a reflection of Him working in and through me. May they catch more from watching my life than they do hearing my words. May I not throw them into the game, without instructing them on how to play!