father giving baseball to son

Defining the Goal

We visited the little league ballpark last week for the first time in many, many months. My days of sitting behind the fence, hoping my kids would be able to make plays and have fun came rushing back to me, even though it’s been almost two decades since that era of my life. Wandering among the parents, overhearing the snippets of conversations, thinking about snow cones and home runs, errors, and pitches over the plate, I gloried in those special moments of parenting history for Kelly and me. I loved those days!

We made our trips to the playoffs. We celebrated the trophies. We shook our heads at all the calls that we knew in our hearts were bad! But looking back now, I wondered about those years and what we really expected or wanted from that time. After mulling it over, I concluded that this was the best: we created memories with our kids. I don’t remember a single score. I don’t remember a single game of stats for either of my boys. What I remember is seeing my youngest son’s first home run. I remember David’s relief when he was able to strike out the last player of the game. But I also remember the one play that cost us the area championship.

In the best and worst, though, were significant, teachable moments. When they won, they were treated to snow cones. When they lost, they were treated to snow cones. Winning is more fun, but soon it’s followed by another game, another season. We decided to define the goal in terms beyond performance, championships, and stats. I loved every minute of it, and when they walked away and decided to try different things, I loved those moments too.

Do you ever imagine Jesus enjoying the time with US? Does it ever register that God made us because He wanted to give us love and see us understand it in such a way that we could learn to love HIM? I loved walking away from games with my hand on my son’s shoulders. Win, lose, excel, or fail, what mattered most was that those boys were MY KIDS. Just because they were mine, I was going to be there. Just because they were mine, I was interested. Do we ever give God that same kind of credit? Do we ever assume His affection toward us to such a degree that we know–whether we succeed or fail–He is our loving, interested, determined Heavenly Father, who is ready to comfort and glory with us?

We should.

I watched a family in the distance as they made their way to the car and thought, “An important parenting moment is about to happen.” As I walked on toward the car, I found myself a bit jealous. . .


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