Tuesday, January 15, 2013
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I was reminiscing with my son the other day about when he was four and learned to play baseball. He was standing there in his little shorts, and he had his Wiffle bat and his Wiffle ball. (I mean when he was little; not the other day.) And I stood just a few feet away from him and I gently threw the ball underhanded. And he would sort of chop at it like an ax, and I didn't know if he'd ever learn to play.
Well, of course, I gave him the Dad's typical, gentle coaching and said, "Now, don't chop at it. Swing evenly. Here's how to follow through. Here's how to plant your feet. And then times changed. It got to where I couldn't pitch it fast enough, and he was hitting it all over the place. Yeah, he was good. I enjoyed coaching. I hope I'm one of the reasons, at least, that he learned to do it right in the early stages. Actually, coaching comes almost naturally to dads; they're pretty good coaches. And I want to be sure today, dad, that that you've got your Head Coach hat on and that you're making the difference.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Being a Winning Head Coach."
Now, our word for today from the Word of God is found in Ephesians 6:4. Coaches, pay attention! It says, "Fathers, do not exasperate your children. Instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord." Let me summarize the Hutchcraft translation of that verse. It says two things to dads. With your children, don't put them down, and do bring them up.
Let's take the first part. There's the negative, and it's addressed particularly to fathers. And I thought, "Now, why is it said to fathers 'do not exasperate your children'?" Of course mothers shouldn't do that either, but it's stated to fathers. I think sometimes dads have awfully high expectations of kids, and we just tend to exasperate our children through setting the bar so high, and then they have to clear it higher and they've got to go higher all the time. And Dad's so hard to please.
Sometimes our cutting remarks only notice what needs improving, and we don't tell them what they've done right. I know kids who have literally been defeated and decided not to even try any more because they just couldn't please Dad.
And in this call to coaching, it says here that the first thing you do is to make sure that your child is never put down by you. There's nothing so cutting, so destroying to a self-image and even your hope for your own achievement than a dad's perceived rejection. But this is a call to spiritual coaching. It doesn't just say just don't put them down, it says, "Do bring them up." Are you leading spiritually in your family? Are you the one who gets everybody together to pray, Dad; who leads the way in scripture memorization? Are you the one who gets the sharing time going around the dinner table about the God-sightings you've each had today? Are you the one who teaches the Bible stories and applies them to everyday life; make sure everybody gets to church, and who models Christian conduct?
You say, "Well, I'm not real good at that." You know, men tend to avoid what they're not good at. If we're not good at a sport, we usually don't show up for that sport. I'm good at softball and I'm not good at football. I'll play softball. I won't play football. Listen, don't wait until you're good at it or you'll never start. Start spending some time getting your family together spiritually and getting with the Lord together. Get them in the Lord's presence together. The only way you can fail at this is to not try.
Remember, God has assigned you as the man of the house, the head coaching job in your family. Do you know what that means? Yeah, don't ever put them down, and always bring them up - in Christ.