Sports dads like myself are more excited than normal right about now. The NFL Season is here! The anticipation has been building since the draft a few months ago. Coaches and fans learn the new players they’ll have playing for their team. Then training camp starts and we see how well they learn and follow the coaches. Next up is preseason and we get to see the players actually playing football. It all reminds me of being a dad through the different stages of raising kids. Thinking through the NFL season can help you be a better father.
As dads we are the “coaches” of our kids through different seasons of childhood. Our job is to prepare them as best we can for the “real” season, and ultimately get them to the point where they are successful in life. It doesn’t happen overnight, just like players don’t jump right into the season.
A foundation is laid when our kids are young. They take a lot of “reps,” but they also make a lot of mistakes. We make adjustments and prepare them better like a coach giving instruction. Here’s how you use the NFL season to help you prepare your kids to win in life.
When a player reports to training camp, he gets a scaled back version of the playbook. This will be his guide to what he’s doing during this time and will be the foundation for what he’ll do if he makes it past the preseason. Prior to the players getting the playbook, the coaches put it together. They had to think about what they want their team and players to accomplish.
Parents have to do the same. While our kids can’t read until a certain age, we give them the playbook by our actions and words. We have to be intentional in what we put into the playbooks of our kids.
Preseason & Roster Cuts.
Preseason is where they get to put into game action what they worked on in training camp. They get to test it out with a lot of guidance. Most of the NFL preseason games aren’t watched by others, so this is where they make mistakes on a lower level with primarily their coaches watching them.
Our kids make mistakes. Think of it like preseason. Keep watching them and use their mistakes as teachable moments so your kids can apply the lesson when it counts even more. This is where cuts happen. No, you aren’t going to cut your kids. But, you want to cut out the bad character when you see it is not beneficial to them.
As our kids reach certain ages, we should be able to give them responsibilities and trust them more on their own.After the final cuts are made in the preseason, the full playbook is given to players who made it. They now have a basic understanding of how the team works. Now it’s time to give them more because they can handle it and have shown responsible behavior. The same is true in fatherhood. As our kids reach certain ages, we should be able to give them responsibilities and trust them more on their own.
Everything up to this point has a purpose of getting them ready to earn a spot and compete in the playoffs. This is what every NFL player and coach is gunning for. It’s now time to put everything to use with some really high stakes.
Great choices and plays can lead to a championship or mistakes can end your season. In fatherhood, your job as “Coach” doesn’t end, but you’ve intentionally prepared your kids for this point. You know their weaknesses, their strengths, and you put them in a position to succeed in life.
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Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask them why is it important to follow your instructions.