My husband and I grew up in Indiana, so of course we were Pacers fans!   For me, the best time of being a Pacers fan was back in the days of Reggie Miller, Mark Jackson, and Rick Smits.  I especially enjoyed the time of the golden era when Larry Bird was coaching the Pacers.  He had a very different coaching style from most coaches.  He stayed calm and did little ‘coaching’ during the games.  (Quite unlike another famous Indiana coach!) 

A reporter asked Coach Larry Bird why he wasn’t more vocal and involved with his players during a game.  His response was that as a former player for the Boston Celtics, he prepared for his games during practices so that when he went out on the  court in a game, he could give 110%.  He didn’t need coaches yelling at him ‘when he was working’ as he played his game.

Coach Bird based his philosophies for coaching on his experiences as a player and set forth to do his coaching during practices.  He felt his job was to coach them well enough during practices that they’d be prepared to go out and do their jobs at game time without him yelling at them from the sidelines.  He went on to say that players aren’t going to respond well to ‘coaching’ during a game anyway.  Larry Bird seemed to be there for his players as more of an encourager and supporter than a coach during the games.

As a parent, I’ve found that Larry Bird’s coaching style is good for parenting, too.  My job as a parent is to use every opportunity I have with my kids to prepare them for the ‘games’ ahead of time.  The time to teach, instruct, and correct is not when they’re the process of competing, performing, or ‘doing their jobs on the court’.  My best time with them is during the ‘practice’ times of life.  Then, when they ‘step onto the court’ for their ‘games’, I can send them out with words of support and encouragement, showing them my confidence in them; not last minute instructions and admonitions that would be useless  by that time (too little, too late). 

One of these days, God willing, they’ll leave home for the ‘Big Game’ of life.  When they do, I want to feel that my husband and I have tried our best to coach them spiritually, academically, emotionally, and physically so that they can play their best games with confidence. If we’re able to do that, then we’ll be able to watch from the sidelines cheering for them, encouraging them, and being willing to give support when needed, but otherwise letting them ‘do their jobs’ as they’re called to do. 

Fortunately, we all have the best ‘playbook’ available when it comes to coaching our kids (and ourselves), and it’s given to us by the greatest coach ever, our Heavenly Father.   He sets the rules and and wants to be a part of every play of the game.  He’ll even show you plays you never dreamed were possible if you let Him!  That ‘playbook’ is the Bible.  And the coolest thing about playing the game God’s way is that you’re sure to be a winner in the end! 

Dear God, Being a parent is an awesome task and responsibility.  You have entrusted Your own children to me.  Please be with me always to help me do my best to raise them as Christians, helping them to reach their full potential, and to do so in a way that serves and glorifies You.  In Christ Jesus’ Name I pray.  Amen.