Dads of athletes — 🏈 🏀 ⚾️ 🏐

**Disclaimer: this is not an area that I’ve been anywhere near perfect. **Disclaimer #2: yes, this can sometimes apply to moms too 😉

Sports represent one of the greatest opportunities that we have as dads. But unfortunately they can also be an area where we blow it. Our kids love us and love sports but if we aren’t careful they can end up resenting us and wanting to quit sports 😢

Ephesians 6:4 says “Fathers, do not exasperate your children” It literally means do not wear your children out 😬Wonder why this command is directed specifically at dads??? 🤔😅 If you’re a dad of an athlete you should definitely know why! Obviously sports is not the only place where this command can be applied, but as dads we have a tendency to lose it a little when it comes to sports. One time after one of my son’s 4th grade basketball games I went on a rant in the car ride home. Somehow I ended up yelling about sacrifice, WW2 and Normandy Beach 😳 …to a 4th grader…over a basketball game. My whole family was just staring at me like I’d lost my mind, and I kinda had! 🤦🏻‍♂️

Avoiding exasperating kids is a constant struggle but a time when we can be especially exasperating is right after games. We want to say something and for most of us saying “hey buddy as long as you had fun who cares what the scoreboard says” 🙄 doesn’t cut it. So what do we do? We need something in between a berating and a participation trophy. 🎯

Here’s 5 postgame tips to avoid exasperating our child athletes:

  1. Tell them you’re proud of them, because you are.
  2. Tell them you love them, because you do.
  3. Give them a hug, because they need it.
  4. Tell them you absolutely love to watch them play.
  5. THEN, if you’ve done these 4 things and you still feel like critique is necessary, try and keep criticisms to the areas of attitude and effort. If their attitude and effort was good, no need for criticism 🤷🏻‍♂️ Here’s why—they already know when they mess up. And their coaches will help them with adjustments. Don’t let your time with them after the game become something they dread.

Dad’s, for the most part your kids want to please you. Your opinion and approval mean so much. Make the most of the opportunity to love, support and help them, not exasperate them.

We’re not gonna really get better at this without a change in our heart. The goal is to relate to our kids the way our Heavenly Father relates to us. He’s patient, loving, but also loves us enough to address our hearts (attitude) when needed. Dads, the closer we get to our Heavenly Father through faith in Christ, the better sports dads we’ll be.

Also, nobody’s perfect on this front. Our kids are kinda raising us too 😆 Give yourself some grace. It’s about direction not perfection. ✊🏼

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