How to give your child the best shot at winning in this life and the next

How to give your child the best shot at winning in this life and the next

In helpful tips by Kent Evans / January 29, 2019

I love articles like the one I just read. It’s about how Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray’s dad has been an instrumental part of Jamal’s basketball career. I enjoy reading about dads who are actively engaged in helping their sons and daughters become confident and accomplished. I mean, I run a father and son ministry for Pete’s sake. This stuff is money. 

If you’d like to be a good dad, or even a great one, read the article from titled, From Ontario: How Jamal Murray was raised to be a star. You’ll get some terrific ideas on how to instill work ethic and a commitment to excellence within your children.


Yet, as a Christ-following dad who wants do disciple his children in the fear and admonition of the LORD, I’m careful with stories like this one. They remind me of an inconvenient truth that I can forget as a dad: I can teach them to succeed at something, but miss the main thing.


And, please hear me clearly. I’m not suggesting the Murray’s have missed anything. I don’t know Jamal or his dad, and for all I know, they’ve nailed this. We need more stories in our culture of fathers who are engaged and active in the lives of their kids! Kudos to the Murray’s for blazing this trail. (Whoops, sorry, I mean, helping us mine these nuggets?)


I just know that in our success-and-sports obsessed culture, it’s tempting for dads to trade sports or career coaching for disciple-making. We help them reach for their destiny but neglect to prepare them for eternity.


I don’t want to be the dad who only stands with my sons as they climb the podium for their medals. I want to be the one who welcomes them with open arms one day as they ascend the staircase into heaven. (I’m not sure there’s a staircase, but I hope so–that’d be cool–and it’d lend credence to the Led Zeppelin song, as if it needs any).



So, in light of this, and since I live in the basketball-crazy state of Kentucky, let’s have some fun comparing basketball training to disciple-making. Maybe along the way, you’ll add some mad skills to your fathering repertoire:


#1 Ball handler or truth handler?

After teaching our child how to have great handles with the ball, lets ensure he can rightly handle the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15Be diligent to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who doesn’t need to be ashamed, correctly teaching the word of truth.


#2 Assist maker or unselfish server?

If we want him to setup teammates with great passes, why not have him give his mom or sister an assist with the dishes or chores
Philippians 2:3: Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves.


#3 Team player or biblical steward?

Maybe he’s learned the importance of contributing to the team, and you can help him translate that into contributing into the offering plate
Malachi 3:10Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.


#4 Great defender or great apologist?

Perhaps he’s become a great defender on the court, and now he’s ready to learn how to respectfully defend his faith
1 Peter 3:15but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, ready at any time to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.
And sure, we could’ve talked about building endurance (press on toward prize), guarding against the enemy (he prowls around), having team spirit (being unified) and eating right (feeding on the word)—but, I didn’t want to block you from understanding, foul things up or carry them too far. Like I did just then.
The bottom line for Christ-following dads is this: we can’t stop at just being a good, or even a great dad. We must be a godly one. This means that simply helping them win at a career or even at the game of life is not enough. We must have them win in death, and the last time I checked, there’s only one way to get to the other side of that tunnel: through the person of Jesus Christ.


Question >  Which one of the above traits does your child need most right now? You can always email me or tweet @ManhoodJourney.


About the author >  

kent-headshot-roundKent Evans is the Co-founder and Executive Director of  Manhood Journey. Kent's the author of Wise Guys: Unlocking Hidden Wisdom from the Men Around You. He and his wife April have five sons and live in Louisville, Kentucky. Follow him @akentevens.


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