I don’t know about you, but I spend many fall evenings sitting in bleachers, cheering on various sized football players. This fall, all three of my sons are playing, so that’s at least four games a week. There are many kinds of football moms. Some have the
buttons and make cupcakes, some show up and are on their phones the whole time, some never come, or do come, but talk to their friends. I have been at some point, in all those categories, but am resolved this fall to be more intentional. I made these guidelines for myself to utilize this season for eternal gains.
Here are my ways to maximize the time invested…
- Take time before the game to say important messages to your child. They are anticipating being coached and you have the most important game plan. I say to the boys things like, “I care more about how you treat your team than I do about the yards you cover.” “I want you to at least once during the game, say thank you to Jesus for a body that works how you want it to.” “Success isn’t given, it’s earned. Do you part with all your heart!”
- Have one conversation with one person in the stands with whom you wouldn’t otherwise interact. This is a mission field. Life is about relationships and the gospel sits on top of those connections. Make them.
- Pray for the coaches during the game. They have a significant opportunity to impact your child and praying for their marriages, health, spiritual sensitivity and friendships will make a difference.
- After the game, take a moment to not rush to the next activity on your agenda, but to speak powerful truths to your child. Tell them what you saw, your perspective on a bad call, a great play, their performance. They are listening and this is our chance to reflect back to them our family values.
- Put the sport in perspective. Our lives cannot, will not revolve around a ball wrapped in pigskin. That means we won’t be mean to each other as we rush late to a practice. Reduce the stress; show up late if you need to. We will not let our mood be altered by a loss or our attitude towards a player change based on their performance. We might miss a practice or a game if a critical family gathering conflicts. A year from now we will remember we missed the wedding, we will not remember that we missed the game.
Athletics is a tool for us to use when parenting our children, it doesn’t have to trump, interfere or otherwise work against our family values. Most likely, my boys aren’t going to play in the NFL and I need to remember this is an activity for them to grow as people. My role in that growth is dependent upon my intentionality.