As an NBA athlete, Kobe Bryant was the definition of winning. His 20-season career was peppered with championships, commendations, celebrations and more. It is still hard to believe that this champion’s life ended far too soon at only 41 years of age. The accompanying shock and mourning usher in a time of reflection. Kobe died with all of those accomplishments, but he died while he was being a dad. He, along with other parents, was taking his daughter to her basketball game. Hundreds and thousands of us do the same thing every weekend, driving or travelling with our children to their sports and extracurricular activities. This is the most notable title of his current career, in my opinion, that of DAD. So, here are a few reflections on parenting to make the most of every opportunity and win in parenting:
- Do not miss another game. Your child deserves and needs their biggest cheerleader, YOU, rooting them along on the sidelines. Leave work early, postpone that appointment and show up.
- Be present. In the world of overstimulation, countless dings, rings and pings vie for our attention. Turn them off, set them aside and hone in. Move beyond physical presence. Give your child the gift of your undivided attention and presence.
- Give them YOUR best. What each of us can provide our children varies. God has uniquely shaped each of us. Give YOUR best, not necessarily THE best, to your child. Apply your individual strengths to your parenting. Give your child your best.
- Build an army. Your child needs you, mom and dad. But your child also needs an army of caring adults to speak into their lives. Identify teachers, coaches, leaders, friends and neighbors who can support your child and speak God’s truths into their lives. This is crucial when your child may not listen to you, needs to hear it from more than one source or simply needs someone else in his/her life to be there.
- Ask for help. You cannot do it all. In fact, you should not do it all. Not only do you need to build an army of caring adults to surround your family, but you also need to call on them. Be humble. Know your limits. All of us will need help at some point and time. Know when it is your turn to ask for help and when it is your turn to give back.