I wonder how I became such a huge sports fan. For many kids, they become fans of a team because a parent or influential adult was a big fan. Now I understand that there are fair-weather-fans that jump on the bandwagon when a team starts winning. But what about Cubs fans? Their bandwagon seems to be pulled by a cursed Billy goat? Still, I know lots of great kids who are huge Cubs fans. That obviously did not happen because the Cubs are a good team, but because a Cubs fan has been good to them. Fandom gets passed down to each generation by those that have the most influence. But that is not my story.
Since I grew up without a father, maybe I just looked to the local sports stars as male role models. For the most part, my favorite players not only excelled on the field, but were also solid community citizens. We still have these positive role models in sports today, they are just becoming a little harder to find. As parents, we can certainly hope that our kids find great role models on the sports field, but what about the role models they find in our homes?
This month, our church's children’s ministry will be focusing on the environment of Modeling. Based on Michelle Anthony’s book “Spiritual Parenting,” we will be reinforcing the truth that, “I see Christ in others, and they can see him in me.” While we all want our kids to see Christ in everything we say and do, we all fall far short of that ideal. Our kids not only witness our best days, but unfortunately our worst days too. But our failures do not disqualify us from modeling Christianity for our family. In fact, how we handle mistakes may become our strongest witness for Christ. Children need to see faith put into action and that means praising God on the good days and repenting on the bad days. Every day, we can point our children to our perfect role model – Jesus Christ. Paul encourages us in Ephesians 5:1-2 (NLT) to, “Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ.”
As we get ready to watch and cheer for the teams in the Super Bowl, let's be aware that our kids are watching. There is nothing wrong with being a huge sports fan. I just don't want my kids to only grow up to follow my favorite sports team; I want them to grow up and follow Jesus!
I just returned from a long family road trip and was reminded of the infamous “recalculating” declaration that GPS devices make after you make a wrong turn. Now I don’t need a GPS device because I have a wife. By the way, she doesn’t say, “recalculating”. Whenever families spend lots of time together (especially jammed together in a vehicle), our imperfections are highlighted. Whether it is our poor navigation skills on the road or something more detrimental, we all need help moving forward after a mistake. As we begin a new year, we should all be thankful that God gladly offers us Course Correction. It is written in 1 John 1:9 (NLT), “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.”
The Bible provides ample evidence that there are no perfect parents. Father Abraham tried to kill his son Isaac. King David’s son Absalom tried to kill him. Jacob favored his son Joseph and this caused the rest of his sons to throw him in a pit to die. You may think your kids fight too much, but Adam and Eve’s children fought to the death. To be fair, Mary and Joseph seemed to do a good job raising Jesus, but he was God in human flesh, so I don’t feel that counts. The bottom-line is all families are deeply flawed. I make this point because we tend to focus on our family’s issues while believing that every other family is picture perfect. I believe looking to God is much more profitable.
This month, my church's children’s ministry will be focusing on the environment of Course Correction. Based on Michelle Anthony’s book “Spiritual Parenting,” we will be reinforcing the truth that, “When I get off track, God offers me a path of healing.” Yes, the consequences of our mistakes can be very painful, but God uses our wrong turns to shape us and grow us. As parents, isn’t that what we do when we discipline our children? The goal as parents is not to punish our children, but to discipline them so that they learn from their mistakes and grow wiser.
Last year was full of mistakes we all regret. However, as we start the new year, be encouraged that God looks forward and wants to be your family’s guide. My prayer is that your family will follow God through every turn and roadblock so that you will experience all he has planned for you in 2015. Paul gives us excellent advice in Philippians 3:13-14 (NLT). It says, “I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”