"Coach, We Forgot To Pray"
The start of this baseball season was no different than past years. As the newly formed team met for the first time back in February the routine and standard was set. The head coach explained to these boys that every practice and every game will begin and end with a huddle where we will bow our heads and pray. Since February that standard has been met without wavering. 26 practices and 24 games went by with prayer serving as bookends for each one. Until…
I won’t take the time to talk about how hard these boys have worked together and as individuals to have the success they have had this season. Because of their success we received a pretty good seat in the latest post-season tournament and had to go up against a team that is actually in a different class above us. After beating them in our first game it put us into position to play a team from Branford with whom our two leagues have a standing rivalry. We had only faced them once in the regular season and although we won the game both teams were itching for a rematch.
Saturday morning at 9am we got that rematch and it was an intense and hard fought win for our boys. After the game there was celebrating going on by everyone, in the dugout and in the stands. As we hurried the boys to gather their things and clear out of the dugout for the next team, parents were anxiously waiting to talk with their boys and congratulate them. Like every other time we gathered the team together by the outfield for our post-game huddle. As it was coming to a close everyone put their hands in and listened to the final remarks and then the coaches said 1, 2, 3, LIGHTNINING!!! (Gilchrist Lightning is our team name in case you don’t understand why we’d yell lightning) A few boys turned and walked away but most of the team stood there having had taken their hats off their head and looking confused. Us coaches had begun to talk to one another when we noticed they were still standing there and then we heard a couple of the boys say “Coach, we forgot to pray.” We quickly called the few that had gone to talk to their parents back over and took a moment to pray.
Children teach us so many lessons don’t they? We as adults sometimes question whether or not children are paying attention or if what we’re trying to instill in them is sinking in. How humbling it was for us as coaches to be reminded amidst all the celebrating that we still need to pray by our team of 8 year old boys. Even more humbling a few of us coaches picked up on the fact that we didn’t pray but didn’t say anything and yet our boys had the courage to stand there and ask us to pray.
You can’t talk about parenting and teaching your children about God’s words without at least thinking about Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
Let me ask some questions to reflect on as parents that definitely challenge me and maybe you as well:
While teaching those lessons in sports and academics is important, what am I doing to teach my children diligently in my home? - What would my children say the spiritual standard and pattern for learning and developing their faith is in my home? - Have I been teaching my children consistently enough so that when I deviate from that pattern they not only notice but remind me? - How easily do I get distracted by everyday events or special occasions and forget to stick to the standard I’ve set in my home to diligently teach my children?
Our children are a blessing and heritage from the Lord. We’ve been entrusted with eternal souls to bring up in the discipline and admonition of our Lord. Let’s learn from our children how to better teach them. (There’s an interesting paradox…)