As a dad, there is a great temptation to want to correct, correct and correct our kids some more. That is PART of our job but it is so easy to make that into the MAIN PART of our job. It is interesting that in the two verses in the New Testament where the Apostle Paul specifically addresses fathers he warns us of this very thing:
"Fathers, do not exasperate (literally take the wind out of the sails of) your children.."
"Fathers, do not embitter your children or they will become discouraged.." (Ephesians 6:4, Colossians 3:21)
As I have had some extended time with my 15-year-old son this summer at a baseball tournament in the Midwest, I have been thinking about what the legendary basketball coach, John Wooden, used to try to do with his players..that is he would try to "catch them doing something right." He knew his players desperately wanted to please their coach, and though he did discipline and correct he worked hard on reinforcing positive play.
What a principle for us as dads to follow! Our kids really want to please us and make us proud. They just need to know how to do it and when the do it. During the tournament I have sought to compliment him for the things that will truly last-not so much his performance on the field but when I see him show unselfishness. For example at one point he was yanked out of the batting line up at the last minute for another player. Though initially he struggled, he recovered well and cheered on the batter who took his place. I made sure he knew I was very proud of him for the way he handled himself in that situation.
Were there times on the trip I had to be tough and rein him in? Of course, but by God's strength I sought to make encouragement the dominant tone of the trip.
How has it been going with you with your kids? Have you been able to catch your child doing something right? (or if you have a teen, have you been able to catch him/her doing something almost right?)