These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
I love playing hockey. I love the exercise, the competition, I love the feeling of flicking a backhand up over the goalie’s glove. You can imagine how disappointed I was I was when the Canadian National Team did not call for me to join their roster. I was hoping that because the NHL players were not included in the Olympics that might mean I’d get the phone call I’ve been waiting for all my adult life. But alas, it was not meant to be. So how does hockey relate to parenting? There are tons of connections but let’s consider three:
1. Focus on The Basics.
The fundamentals of hockey are skating forward and backward, stickhandling, shooting, passing, and a basic understanding of the rules of the game. There are many subtleties and intricacies, but every game is won and lost because of the fundamentals. Parenting is an important God-given responsibility. Deuteronomy 6 informs me as a parent what my role is in raising my child to know God and to follow His ways. What are the fundamentals of parenting? Communication, love, guidance, and time spent together. These fundamental building blocks help you connect with your child and provide a platform for leading them to come to know Christ and to follow Him.
2. Listen to The Coach
A coach can make all the difference! I remember the contributions made by the hockey coaches my boys had during their playing days. Coaches encouraged and challenged the guys as they worked on skills and helped them grow as players. I know it sounds predictable from a pastor, but I would challenge every parent to consider God to be your coach and to listen to Him carefully about all parts of your life – including your parenting.
A great prayer from a parent is “God, please guide me to become a better parent.” As I humbly listen to God as my coach and grow as a parent, I model this posture and behaviour to my kids.
3. Build The Team
We were not meant to do life alone! You are working on the fundamentals, you are submitting to God’s coaching in your life, now build your team! Your parenting team is made up of the other people who help you in the big task of raising your kids. Grandparents, other relatives, friends, coaches, teachers, mentors, and your church family can all be seen as intentional allies as you parent your kids toward following God. You can invite others to help you teach your child what a relationship with God by you all living it out. As you benefit from this, you can also be a part of someone else’s team and intentionally build into other kids by serving in the church. Through the years that we have been parenting our four kids, Pam and I have been deeply grateful for the people that have been a part of our team here at Emmanuel. I want our church to keep getting better at being a part of the team and supporting other parents in their God-given role of parenting. We are the church together. Sounds a lot like a team to me!