PROVE – CORRECT – ENCOURAGE
Prove: 1. To test by experiment or by a standard; 2. To establish a truth by argument or evidence; 3. To show to be correct, valid or genuine. “Prove, correct and encourage…” (2 Timothy 4:2-6)
Like any good coach, a parent does well to teach his children how the ‘game’ is played (prove), works with his kids by correcting their missteps and mistakes, and encourages them with words of affirmation and clear modeling of the material he presents. He doesn’t play the game himself by a set of rules different from the ones he requires his players to learn and follow.
Ultimately, his major goal is to acquaint his family with the Savior in such a way that the presence of Jesus will be experienced within family life and will shine through the values by which the family is known.
A coach is himself or herself still learning what it means to follow Jesus, but he or she is, at least, a step ahead of the youngsters. Parents know the truth of Scripture, live out the truth of Scripture, and make the truth of Scripture the ‘rule book’ of the ‘game.’ They know God’s Word, live by it, and expect their kids to do the same.
O.K., you ask. Just how does a good coach accomplish this? Here are a few basic strategies to start with.
A parent-coach develops teamwork, but never loses sight of the fact that the team is made up of individuals. And these kids are very often a study in contrasts: same parents but each one a person all to himself. Good coaching treats each child as the unique person that he is and works to accommodate how he best processes life…how he likes to learn things.
A parent-coach finds ways to engage a child in the ‘drills and practices.’ Yes, studying charts and explanations of plays and rules is useful, but kids always benefit when drawn into the action to experience what is best for working together.
A parent-coach makes sure that it’s clear to his team that the rules, the plays and the pre-game drills, do matter for present and future hopes and dreams.
A parent-coach, while acknowledging individuality, gives ample opportunity for his team members to tackle life’s tasks cooperatively.
A parent-coach avoids overloading his team members with more than they can handle at any time. He/she watches for signs that the kids are ‘shutting down’ from an input overload.
Each team member sees life through her own unique lenses, learns best by doing, acknowledges that learning to play the game now benefits her for her future, relates well to fellow team members and appreciates it when life lessons focus on one main rule or skill at a time.
We celebrate the truth that our Father God puts the team together. Except for adoption, parents do not choose their kids. For only a few short years, parents coach their growing team members and prepare them to repeat the coaching process on their own. It’s God’s design that God resources for His delight and glory. Go team!