Dad Duties-Dad as Coach Part Deux

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As we segment the lifecycle of fathering into the three chapters of coach, counselor and consultant, it’s commonly perceived that being a coach is the most important part of a dad’s responsibility through the PE-127-0820first 6-7 years of their child’s life. I contend that, in reality, a dad is all three of these (coach, counselor, consultant) all the time throughout their children’s lives. It’s just that the emphasis may change as our children grow up. We need to adapt to their needs. And, it’s in these first few years of life that our coaching ability is critical. Thankfully, perfection is not required, but intentionality is.

KEY COACHING VERSE: Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. Prov 22:6

My son just turned 21 a few days ago. There are times I am still coaching him. But, he really needed my coaching when he was learning the basics of life. Like motivating him to taking his first steps or discarding diapers for the reading room (OK, I guess it doesn’t become the reading room until much later in life). It was my responsibility to instill in him a foundation that he could build upon. I established routines and disciplines in my children to help set them on course (just a side note that none of this happened in isolation. I have a wonderful wife who is as much a part of our children’s upbringing as I’ve been-probably more so ;).

As the spiritual leader of our home, it was incumbent upon me to develop the disciplines and inspiration of scripture reading, devotional times, and prayer. Teaching them to ride a bike or that a stove is hot are dad-with-child-studying-biblethings we might take for granted but they are critical for coaching our children about the physics of this world. Coaching requires us to be available and present in our children’s lives. And, our leadership is evident when we sacrifice our time, energy and interests to wrestle with them, discipline them (yes, even spank them lovingly when needed) and tell them over and over again that we love them as we hold them close to our chest.

Being a great coaching dad isn’t easy. Sometimes, just like in sports, it’s giving them exactly what they expect. But, often it’s reacting in a way that is unexpected. Tom Izzo, one of the most successful college basketball coaches over the past decade, addressed his team in a pregame message during this year’s NCAA tournament and confessed to them that he “blew it” the last time his team made it to this stage of March Madness. They went out and beat the #1 overall team in the tournament. Winning may not have been completely attributable to his pregame speech but it was inspiring. As dads, it might look like not raising our voices when they do something wrong but, instead, calmly assuring them It’s OK, or letting them know early on you’re human and admit mistakes when you make them. Fathering, like coaching, isn’t for the faint of heart but the rewards are infinitely greater.

Motivation…Inspiration….Teaching….Leadership…Traits that are evident in great coaches of sporting teams. How much more important are they in raising up the next generation…YOUR next generation? Now go out there and “win one for the Gipper”, Dad!

Next time we’ll examine the next major phase of dad as counselor.

SOUND OFF: What are some of the ways your dad showed you some of these traits of being a great coach? How have you exhibited them in your coaching as a dad?

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