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Friday, June 4, 2010

ESPNU, Ricky Williams and Fatherhood

"Then all the assemby shouted loudly and blessed God, who saves those who hope in him." Daniel 13: 60

I was watching ESPNU the other night and saw a documentary on Ricky Williams the NFL running back.  Evidently it's a documentary by ESPN called Run, Ricky, Run and a primary theme is Ricky's life growing up.  When Ricky was a young boy, his father was charged with some sort of abuse towards Ricky.  The program went into depth about the incident and growing up and his mother, etc...  It was very interesting to say the least.  I am sure many of you are familiar with the trials and tribulations of Ricky Williams but I checked on Wikipedia and was amazed with the twists and turns of his life.  I suggest you find the documentary or read up on Ricky Williams, I think his life is a tragic example of a poor upbringing.

At one point in the interview Ricky says, "Somewhere in the Bible it says that in every thousand fathers there is one good one."  I'm no Bible expert, but I don't remember this in the Bible(supposedly Ricky Williams is a Hindu, currently.)  Evidently, Ricky was trying to rationalize why he got such a bad father, I don't know.  What I do know, is if we only have 1 good father out of 1000 we are in a heap of trouble!  I wrote last week about how we are trying to father fatherless boys at Winton Woods.  How we are called to father our own children but to father other fatherless boys as well.  I guess the question that comes to mind is how do you do this?  What makes a good father?  What makes a great father?  What makes a father that is a hero to his children?  Because that is the father I want to be.

First of all, let me point out that I am no expert on fatherhood.  These are just some observations and thoughts.  Feel free to disagree or add.  Secondly, I can never be so proud to think I can raise a child all by myself.  A village raises a child(a topic reserved for another blog), a community of men raises a boy, God intervenes, mothers and aunts and grandmothers have a primary role.  But a father must play a vital role, period.

1.  A man/father must possess self-control and be able to teach his son self control.  I hope none of us have experienced what Ricky Williams experienced growing up from his father.  How sinister and tragic rolled into one!  But in all aspects we are called to be able to control our appetities, whether it's over-eating, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, pornography, sleeping in until noon, over working, whatever.  We must be able to say no.  Your example is vital!  But your example is not enough, because there are so many examples not demonstrating self-control(999 bad fathers!)  You must instruct and mentor your boy in the ways of self-control.  When your son plays video games for 5 hours straight, take the time to instruct him.  This behavior is dangerous!  Treat it as a teaching moment, grow closer through the experience and look for improvement in the days and weeks to come.

2.  A man/father loves and treats with respect his son's mother.  Whether you are still married to your son's mother( I can only hope and pray that woman is your wife.) or you've seperated; for your own good, for that woman's good, for your son's good and for countless other young women's good treat his mother RIGHT.  The two of you made a child, God intervened and created a miracle through the two of you.  Yet, this incredible thing is treated as trivial.  That is wrong.  Husbands you should show your son you love your wife.  Let him know that you are in love with her.  Treat her like a queen, show him how to treat girls that he likes.  We live in a society where women are used and valued on what they look like, not for their true beauty.  YOU have a chance to change that.  And if you aren't with your son's mother, you still can treat her right. You can treat her with respect, you can talk to your boy about the mistakes and problems that led to the end of his parents relationship, you can guide him so the same doesn't happen to him.  You can still love his mother although you are no longer together.  What an example to give to your son.  What humility!

3.  A father rewards and disciplines with consequences.  So many of my boys do things without thinking....just like I did when I was their age.  But I had a dad that always gave consequences.  Did I do more stupid behavior?  Of course!  But I always knew right from wrong and that if caught, I'd be in trouble.  So many of my kids do things wrong and don't get punished.  Or so many adult's punishment is to say, "don't do that again or else"  in a loud voice.  And that's it!  Or worse still, they ignore the behavior!? Wow!  Be ready for misbehavior by boys, people, but be strong enough to give and follow through on a punishment.  And the same for rewards, celebrate great behavior!

4.  A father gives quality and quantity time with his children.  Be there for your kids, get to know them, let them know you, do things together.  This is quality time.  But also, make kids your priority, be around, give them access to you.  There is way to much ME time for dads.  Once your child was born, your life changed.  You have a mission and it is not, to watch TV doing nothing, hanging out with other dads/men doing nothing, surfing the web doing nothing, getting a facebook page(are you serious?!) doing nothing, talking how great you were when you were that age......doing nothing.  Invest, invest, invest!

5.  A father gets help from God our Father.  The greatest legacy my father gave me was not his size 16 feet, not his love for history, not his strictness(2 hours of homework every night in high school), not his trying to cook(took at least 10 tries to make homemade pizza well), not his love of his wife and family, not his attempts at physical fitness(golf and bike riding to SVSU) was his love of God.  Dad taught me that loving God was central in your life.  Trying to love everybody and being good was the goal. Trying to do things right because it was the right thing to do was the goal.  And whenever there were troubles..... to turn to God, because He created you and He always takes care of you.  Be a man of God, men.  Pray and ask for help and your prayers will be answered.  Give God and chance to save you.  If you do, I promise you'll be happy you did.  Correct that, that's not quite right; If you do, I promise you and your children will be happy you did.   I know I am.

Go Father the fatherless this week!

Coach Willertz
Winton Woods Wrestling: "Our toughest matches are not on the wrestling mat!  Because wrestling is not just a sport, it's a life!"

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