Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.
– Proverbs 22:6
Ray slipped the nylon cord over his head allowing the whistle at the end to dangle. He
buttoned the black and white striped shirt and grabbed his cleats, then kissed his wife as he rushed out of the door. “Let’s go son. We’re running behind this afternoon.”
The two climbed into the truck and headed toward the football field. Silence filled the cab.
Ray glanced across the seat as his son stared blankly out the window. “Something on your mind you need to talk about?”
Jeff shrugged. “Maybe. I dread this game.”
“Why, son. You guys are one win away from the championship. And I can’t referee your games.”
“It’s not that. I just hate being on the field when Mr. Jones and Nat Miller start to complain. They act like such little kids. Worse yet, their sons act the same way – shoving and threatening everyone –even guys on our team. It’s just not fun anymore, dad.”
Ray pulled the truck to edge of the road and shoved the gearshift into park. “You’re right. They do make life hard for everyone with their behavior. And when your children watch you behave badly, they think it’s okay to do the same. Unfortunately, you can’t run from people like this. They’re everywhere you go, but you can set the example. Let me make a suggestion.” He leaned across the seat and began to devise a plan.
As anticipated, midway through the game the two men began to rant. Trouble began on the sideline and before long their sons had started a brawl. Once the fight was broken up and the game resumed, Jeff took his place in the line-up. He waited until everyone was in stance then he removed his helmet, setting it on the hash mark. Bravely, he turned and walked off the field. Within seconds, other team members followed suit. The coach was dumbfounded as his team walked off the field one by one. He clasped his hand around Jeff’s arm. “What are you doing?” Jeff smiled. “Quitting. I play football on a team. A team plays fair. A team plays without fights. I play on a team, and this is not a team.”
It took a lot of courage for Jeff to walk away from something he loved, but he set an example for parents and children alike. When Solomon asked for wisdom, God granted it. Proverbs is full of insights that just make plain sense “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” speaks volumes. As parents, we are the mirror our children look into daily. They learn from us – mimic us. We teach them the ways they will grow into as adults. Setting a godly example may mean walking away from something we enjoy occasionally. However, walking away teaches our children that our behavior is far more important than a game.
God has entrusted our children to us. We have a short time to make a life-long impression. We must raise our children with the wisdom of Solomon and the strength of Christ. How do you teach those tiny souls entrusted to you?
Prayer: Lord, give us the courage to say no to our children. Help us to train them in Your ways.