It’s the NBA Conference Finals, and my hometown of Memphis is buzzing with excitement. It is always interesting to see how the happiness of our great city rises and falls with the results of our team. During the playoffs, I have noticed that the head coach is under an increased amount of scrutiny. As I read both the praises and criticisms of our head coach, Lionel Hollins, I could not help but see the similarities between coaches and parents.
As my boys have gotten older, I have realized that my role is gradually shifting from primary teacher to primary coach. The role is not any less important, but it does change my focus. A good head coach does a number of things well, but there are three things that I believe are very applicable to parenting. I hope that, as you read through this post, one or all of them will strike a chord with you.
1. A good coach knows his personnel. You cannot lead a team you know nothing about. A coach has to study his players, know their strengths and weaknesses, and coach accordingly. I think in parenting we often parent to how we want our children to be, without considering their true strengths and weaknesses. Know your child well and make sure that you can push them in their strengths and help them in their weaknesses.
2. A good coach always makes adjustments. The ebb and flow of an NBA game causes the coach to make adjustments as the game progresses. A dad must be willing to make adjustments to his strategic plan as he goes. The personality or learning style of your son might force you to change parts of your strategic plan so that he can be ready to launch into that next season of life with all the tools he needs. Don’t be afraid of change.
3. A good coach models the style of the team. The Grizzlies are known for “Heart, Grit, and Grind” basketball and our coach models that same type of toughness. A dad must model the vision for manhood that he is casting for his son. It is very difficult to be an effective father if you are not modeling the vision you are casting. Boys must see the vision clearly in the life of their father.
Coach them up, dads. Remember, we are not just parenting boys. We are parenting future husbands and fathers. They need all the good coaching they can get.