As a society, we claim that we like athletes who tend to be humble and quiet, but in reality, those aren’t the guys who get the focus—at least not as much as the other guys who are trying to bring attention to their own names. Barry Sanders and Deion Sanders came into the NFL together in 1989. Barry was “old school.” He did his job and played spectacular football, and when he scored a touchdown, he handed the ball to the official and then went back to the bench. After games, it was hard to get him to talk about himself. He would praise his offensive lineman, then head out and stay away from the camera as much as possible.
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.”
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?
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.
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.
A question I would get a lot when I was coaching was how do you deal with a player who has a bad attitude or not the right attitude. There have been many talented teams who weren’t able to accomplish the type of success they could have had they had the right attitude. As a leader and a father it’s important to help mold and shape children or the people you are leading to buy into the culture you are trying to create. There are 2 things that I would try to do with players I thought didn’t have the right attitude.
We all deal with fear. Whether it is fear of speaking in public, fear of flying, fear of failure, or many other kinds, fear can paralyze us. Many young people today will look at their parents and think they don’t experience fear. But you and I both know that we do. I have had many fears in my life. Life is about overcoming our fears. That is what I try to teach my children. This is what I tell them about how to overcome fear.
One of the most important gifts a father can give his children is time together creating memories. Having experiences together gives us a chance to bond. One of my favorite things about my childhood is all of the time my dad and I spent with one another. It was important for my development and sense of self. That is why I have to try to make sure my kids experience as much with me as possible. So I try to create times together they will remember forever.
Fortunately, I have had a lot of wonderful experiences with my children. It’s tough for me to remember all of them. I tend to think first about the most recent. So, if I had to pick my top 3 experiences I would have to narrow it down to these recent ones.
I have been asked many times what is the best parenting advice I have ever received. For me, it goes all the way back to 1984. Our first daughter Tiara was just born and Ron Blackledge was an assistant coach with me on the Steelers staff. He had children already and this is what he told us.