I have one of those day jobs where I spend many of my days in a coffee shop borrowing the wifi and getting way to caffeinated. I try to find the quietest corner of the establishment with the least sunlight at a table where nobody would be tempted to ask me a question or strike up a conversation. While in my java seclusion, I had a father and son sit down at an adjoining table where the father set about trying to coax his young son (roughly 8 years old) into doing his homework. I was proud of the father because he only came close to throttling the child a couple of times. He provided me with an opportunity to reflect on my own handling of similar situations and how it has certainly changed over the years.
Football coaches are often known for our ability to project our displeasure whether it be with the officials or players. I have often said I could never coach male athletes in any other sport because football is the last venue for coaches with my level of passion. It helps that I am further from the spectators and most of what I am projecting is toward the opposing team's sideline! My wife has on more than one occasion had to reprimand me about my behavior on the field and through the years I have mellowed like Nick Saban in the picture below. Despite my relapses, my passion does not stem as much from a desire to win as it does from a desire to see the young men under my tutelage reach their potential. I liken it to tough love.
The bible instructs fathers, "do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." Ephesians 6:4 As a coach, the young men on our team are all my children and I seek to vary the level of instruction and my temperament with each. Some need more carrots and others more stick! Regardless, motivating them is getting their attention without losing their respect.
And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. Deuteronomy 6:6-7
God calls us to instruct "diligently" which I interpret to require forethought as I am not able to be diligent without meditation. We are further instructed to realize we are to coach both on and off the field. We are never to stop coaching. We must understand the power God has entrusted to us to influence our athletes. We should never take it lightly and we should seek his guidance on how we could work to further his kingdom with the opportunities we have been given.
The young father grabbed the chair of his son violently, he furrowed his brow on several occasions, he did not tolerate his son's apathy as he tried his best not to anger his son and keep his own frustrations quieted. In the end, his son finished the task which should have taken 5 minutes in about 30 maddening minutes for his father. What was a joy was to see how his son was content with getting the work done and how he held his father's hand when leaving the store. Score one point for Dad. His son stepped up to own his responsibility and in the process gained a little more respect for his father.