Raising four sons in Oklahoma, football season means it’s the most important time of the year. My two oldest sons play on the local high school team. Every weekend we put on our team shirts and head out to a spirited evening under the Friday night lights. Forty-eight minutes of battling for the pigskin keeps the crowds alert and fuels the lively competition.
My sons play defense. Week after week I watch them push, shove, sprint and tackle opposing players, all in the name of protecting the goal line. After the game they are drenched in sweat, covered in dirt and usually have a few new bumps and bruises from the necessary roughness. I sometimes wonder if they’ll look forward to the next game because it takes such a toll on their bodies.
When I question them if they had a good game, they repeatedly explain to me, “Mom, if we stop them from scoring, we did our job. We work hard to keep them from gaining any ground on our team.” I can quibble with them about the dangers of this game and how much time they spend away from school work to participate, but I cannot argue with their passion to play defense.
Defense – noun, resistance against attack; protection:
Moms, are we playing enough defense in our parenting? Are we stopping the enemy from getting too close to the minds of our children? I wonder, how would my kids’ spiritual lives be different if my passion and energy to lead them in God’s Truth were as strong as my passion to wave a big foam finger and ring a cowbell every Friday night? I need to be more intentional about protecting what I love – the hearts of my children. The enemy is in pursuit and aims to gain ground on his opponents. It’s our job to help provide defense against the attacks.
Here are four ways you can ‘play defense’ for your child and help them stand strong.
1. Provide prayer coverage. Make it a habit to pray for your kids. Pray for them and with them. Pray their minds are transformed by God’s truth and strengthened by His love.
2. Keep them in bounds. Clear boundaries help kids understand the expectations for their lives.When we allow them to step outside of those boundaries, they are subject to making poor decisions. Be confident in your role as the one to help them see the lines.
3. Tackle opposition hard. There is no shortage of negative influences in this life. Have the courage to stand strong against anything that diverts your child’s heart away from God. Your efforts won’t always be popular but in the end, it could save your son or daughter from a world of hurt.
4. Protect the goal. What goes in a mind, comes out in a life. Encourage them to make great choices in what they see, hear and read. Show them the value of protecting their mind.
Our job as parents is to lead our children to a saving relationship with Jesus. We block, tackle and intercept whatever threatens to weaken their faith. De-fense! De-fense! Can you hear God cheering you on in your parenting? It’s time to play defense. Down, set, hut!