Defining Family Identity
“Todd, I want to invite your son to play for me on the All Star Team.”
That is how the phone call started and it sounded great. I was proud of my son and his dedication, sacrifice, and performance. I was excited to see him play with other similarly focused and competitive kids. Within a couple weeks we had played more baseball than the previous 4 months. Since we committed to this All Star team we felt an obligation to assist and support our son and the team by attending every practice, scrimmage, and game. We gave up things to create down time so he could be ready. We flexed our commitment to small group, we skipped corporate worship, altered our budget, diet, exercise routine, and sleep schedules to provide this opportunity. We brought our daughter to these events and sat through hours of delays. We felt our expectations of performance skyrocket as we watched the team play. We wanted to see them win and be successful.
I like winning. I think kids that suck at sports should be cut from the team. Not everyone should play. Not everyone should be in the band or on American Idol. Competitive baseball was on the other end of the spectrum. This went too far for me. Something about it seemed wrong.
Reflecting on the whole experience we realized we had been evangelized by one of America’s largest religions – youth sports. We can’t live like that. We can’t serve the god of youth sports. We don’t want to fall into performance based worth and we don’t want to see the fruit of this belief system in our lives. I want my kids to learn to win. I also want them to learn that losing doesn’t make you a loser, and winning isn’t everything. I want them to love and serve God above all else.
There are 3 guiding principles for our family. They were partially discovered through this experience and partially reinforced. These principles help us understand who we are, who we are not, and how to make choices accordingly. The principles are: “Love God”, “Love Others”, and “May all that you do be pleasing to God”.
If you are overwhelmed with the activity, pressure, and changes coming at you then consider how counseling and coaching can help you identify your guiding principles. Defining your family identity can be a simple conversation about how you are as a family, the pressures and challenges you face, and how these things are impacting you in relation to your true values. Don’t waste another year going with the flow, get intentional, be a family on purpose.