Just because you have erred doesn’t mean you’re out of the running to be a good dad. We all fall short. The Bible wasn’t written for those who have it figured out, but instead, it is God’s Word to those of us who are muddling through life. I believe that we “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” but we have been given the freedom through Christ to forget the past and look forward to what lies ahead as we “press on to reach the end of the race.”
I used to talk to my teams regularly about perception versus reality. Valuing style over substance happens in football a lot, just as it does in life. Certain players are perceived by fans and the media as different people than the ones their families and friends know. Certain teams are looked at in ways that may not be accurate. Analysts are always using terms like “a finesse team, a physical team, a dome team, an offensive team,” and so on.
As a parent, I am often talking to my kids about their behavior and how to correct it. They’ve heard me say many times, “Look this is something we don’t do,” or “Mom and I have talked to you about this,” or “God has talked about this.” But every now and then they will fire back at me about something I have done. “Hey dad, you’ve talked to us about being calm and under control and you’re yelling at us.” Have you ever had your kid call you out as a parent?
For about thirty years I was a competitive athlete, from elementary school, middle and high school, all the way through college and in the NFL. Then I was an NFL coach. I’ve always had a highly competitive nature, setting goals, and going after them, year after year. Then I retired and no longer had the athletic field, but I’m still just as competitive as I ever was.
Alcohol consumption and especially teen drinking has become a major problem in our society today. There are many reasons for that, but one is our kids get so many messages that drinking alcohol is fun and cool. That is what they are seeing. As parents, we need to be proactive on the other side of it. First, my wife and I have chosen not to drink alcohol and not because we think it’s wrong as adults. We’ve chosen not to because don’t want to give our kids the idea that we can do it as adults, while they need to wait. They see us not drinking and hopefully, that will rub off on them. Second, we also have a lot of conversations with them about the dangers of alcohol, especially young people drinking alcohol. In those ways, we’ve tried to be proactive.
Last month baseball lost one of the greatest pitchers of all time in Roy Halladay who passed away in a plane crash. There were many tributes to him, but one thing expressed over and over again was his work ethic. He would always be the first person at the ballpark to work out. He learned how to develop good habits, such as discipline and hard work. Habits such as these made him into a sure bet Hall of Famer.
Tyndale House Publishers, who published all of my books, came to me and asked me if I would like to write a commentary on a topic for the Every Man’s Bible. I chose integrity because that was so important to my parents and they drilled that into us. As I wrote and shared on my blog several months ago, integrity is not determined by your past or your position in life. It is determined by a decision to be a person of integrity or not.
So often there is such an emphasis on results that it doesn’t matter how you get them. Moving up is more important than the way you move up. It doesn’t matter what kind of person you are, just what kind of player you are. It doesn’t matter if you follow the rules or break them, just as long as you come out on top. After all, that’s what everyone will remember at the end of the day.
You can achieve more with a team than without. I’ve seen it time and time again: A team that is functioning well is more than just the sum of its parts. In fact, the Colts team that won the Super Bowl in 2007 was not the most talented team I had during my years in Indianapolis. But it was the team that came together best and played at a higher level than you might have expected from the sum of its individual pieces. Each member of the organization had bought into our clear vision and the way we planned to accomplish it, both on and off the field.
No one ever wants to be one of those annoying parents. Have you ever thought about something your parents did when you were a child and said to yourself, I’m never going to do that when I’m a parent? Maybe you’ve even thought, I’m going to be better than that. Then you find yourself doing that very thing. I’ve been there.