Not sure how any of us were that engaged in the Winter Olympics in China. But as of today, it has ended. Three weeks of joy, heartbreak, confusion and all other forms of emotion. As you read about the investment these athletes and their trainers make, you have to be amazed. The actual time they spend training for this historical event is incredible. Every detail is repeated over and over, thousands of times, just to ‘get it right’. They are competing for medals, and the rewards that come with it.
My mind drifted to the role of fathers. Just ‘what if’ every father dedicated their time to produce a ‘winner’ in their children. As these athletes have skilled trainers, fathers are that to their children. Many of these competing athletes have been working toward this since they were maybe six. And now, some, even as a teenager, are performing on the ‘big stage’, for themselves, their families and their country.
The above reminds me of the Proverbs 22.6 verse. “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” (he and she) You wouldn’t just send one of the competitors out on the ice or a giant hill of snow and wish them ‘good luck’. No, their training is what gave them the opportunity to compete. So it is with your children. Spend very little time investing in them, and when they’re 18 or so, you wish them well as they proceed into the world. Is this really what you want for them?
The athletes have been taught to compete within the rules, and to be very disciplined. And so must your children. God’s word contains a plethora of his commands (rules) and in it he challenges them to be disciplined in their lives. Fathers, you are that guide to your children so they may accomplish God’s will for their lives. Not all will win the gold, silver or bronze; but God is most interested in their heart. You can see the hearts of these athletes as they compete.
Time is love, investing in their lives. How? Being present; through prayer, being their best role model, teaching and mentoring, disciplining and blessing them. All of this is love, even your providing for and protecting them. It is discipleship of the highest order. Prayerfully seek to determine the giftings that God has provided them. Work to help them hone these gifts. And as some of the athletes are great skaters, others are gifted at skiing. Don’t force the skater to be a skier so to speak. It may be what pleases you, but it is not for them.
Finally, remember, these children are gifts to you and your wife by grace. They are God’s; you are their guide and counselor to help them become one of God’s champions. Be the best ‘coach/trainer’ possible, and take great joy in seeing them succeed in the arena of life, all to God’s glory. Well worth your time (love)—would you agree?