Raising A Champion

by | Aug 9, 2016 | Vital Men Devotions

watching-with-dad-1510745-1278x848One of the things I love about watching the Olympics is hearing the backstories about the athletes. Not only have most athletes gone through great adversity and sacrifice, but so have their parents. A Forbes study showed that it costs an average of $15,000 for 5-8 years to put a young woman in a position to possibly qualify for the Olympics. The mother of 2012 gold medalist Gabby Douglas spent so much money funding her daughter’s training that she was forced in bankruptcy. Many families end up moving to be closer to certain training centers, and some athletes leave home as teenagers to train full time {Gabby Douglas famously moved to Des Moines at age 14 to live with a host family.}. I’ve even read stories where parents have quit their jobs to follow their children’s athletic pursuits full-time. Even participating in traveling teams at the youth level, considered a necessity to have a chance at even playing at the high school level, can cost thousands of dollars and wipe out many weekends. In short, behind most successful athletes are parents sacrificing money, time, and energy to ensure their success.


Don’t take any of the above as an indictment of raising athletes. As an athlete myself I fully understand the importance of athletics and the positives they can have on your life. I am also very thankful for the sacrifices my parents made to support my participation in sports and other competitive activities. But, more important then the energy they put into competitive success was the time and energy they put into raising me as a disciple of Christ. From an early age my parents taught me how to pray, read me Bible stories, involved me in church, helped me memorize scripture, modeled the life of a disciple, and provided me with numerous tools to grow in my faith. I remember getting into Christian music because my parents would buy me Christian CD’s, but I had to buy the secular ones on my own. That may sound silly, but it ended up having a big impact on my life.


Spending energy on raising our children to be disciples is not just something we should do, its something we are commanded to do. As Paul writes in Ephesians 6:4: Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. This is not something we are to leave up to our church or to chance, but a duty that has been assigned to us as fathers. Just as it takes substantial work to raise a champion athlete, it takes a major effort to raise a disciple of Christ in our growingly secular world. As dad’s lets start owning our responsibility. Let’s model faith to our children, pray with and for them, helping them get into the word, and provide them the opportunities and resources to grow into disciples and leaders. Let’s do whatever we can to raise a generation of champions for Christ.

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