“And fathers, don’t stir up anger in your children, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
– Ephesians 6:4
The idea came as a random thought. I wanted to do something that would help connect the boys on my junior varsity football team with their fathers. The middle school years can be tough on young boys and their parents. Jeff Kinney, American cartoonist and author of children’s books, once said, “I’ve never run into a person who yearns for their middle school days.” If asked, I think most parents would agree that years 11-14 are some of the toughest to navigate. I feel very strongly that boys of this age need to not only hear from their fathers that they are loved, but experience it. My solution was to gather the boys, their fathers and their coaches in a prayer circle following every game. Win or lose, it’s a special time of encouragement, affirmation and love. We will continue to “celebrate” each week throughout the season and I hope it becomes a yearly tradition.
The Bible speaks very clearly on the impact fathers have on their children. Fathers have a responsibility to teach their children biblical truths and values. It’s extremely difficult to help someone understand the love of our Heavenly Father if they haven’t had a positive relationship with their earthly father or a positive male role model in their life. There have been a number of positives from our weekly prayer circle. First, the kids love it! Their eyes light up when I tell them to go get their dads. When I ask everyone to link up, it seems they all stand a little taller. Secondly, the dads love it too! They not only feel connected to their sons, they feel connected to the team. Isn’t that what it’s all about—loving the game and each other?
Heavenly Father, Your love never wavers. Help me to go deeper in the lives of my athletes today. Teach me to love the way that You love. Amen.