Over the past couple of years, my oldest has developed an addiction of sorts to watching college football. I no doubt am to blame for this, and while I feel there is some some negative outcomes of this addiction (as is the case with any addiction), it’s been a true joy to snuggle up next to my little man and watch football together. Often times my wife will comment that God is smiling on me and shows this by giving me a son who enjoys football as much as I do.
Sometimes while we’re watching, I’ll wonder how to take the passion he and I have for football and create something with it. I’m a big fan of creating as an expression of worship, and watching football does not lend itself towards creativity. It’s a consumer driving sport where men and women sit on their couches for hours at a time living vicariously through the players on the television. But I cannot escape that college football is a passion of mine, and now it has become so for my son as well. For this, I’m grateful. We have some great times together celebrating victories, and learning how to handle defeat. No doubt you’re very familiar with the glory of a victory and the agony of defeat, not limited to but especially if you’re a sports fan.
What I’m learning is that kids have an amazing capacity for absorbing the actions, affects, emotions, and beliefs from their parents. This might not be a new concept, but in the passion filled living room during a football game, there might not be a better opportunity for me to exemplify responsibility in my craze towards the sports. Get excited, go nuts, scream, shout, hug, and jump for joy when your team is down 5 and blocks a punt with less than a minute remaining in the game. And when your team throws an interception on the ensuring drive to end the game, and comeback, grieve the loss; be sad. But remember. Remember that little eyes are watching your every move. Watching how you throw your hat across the room, how you emotionally shut down, become numb and lose sight of what’s in front or around you. Remember that the sun will rise tomorrow and while this is a disappointing way to end, it’s not the end.
Our kids need us to teach them basic skills for life, be it how to change the oil in a car or change a flat tire, but what our kids need most from us dads is for us to remember them. To remember they are watching, learning, and waiting for us to show them how to respond. And in all of that, there is freedom to not get it right. Freedom to become so caught up in the moment(s) that you do forget. Because the reality is that it’s not about what you’ve done, but what you’ll do next.