(Stock photo/Nathan Gleave) We need to be proactive, taking deliberate steps to move the ball toward our own goal. What are your goals are as a family? What do you want your children to achieve? What character traits do you want them to possess? What education goals have you set? What moral decisions do you want them to make?
Sometimes the Best Defense is a Good Offense
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NOVEMBER 01, 2007
Craig Harris

Sometimes the best defense is a good offense
I heard singer Amy Grant say something I thought was so true and funny on a morning talk show several years ago. She said when you have one child, you can double-team him. Then, when you have the second, you go man to man. You switch to zone defense when the third baby comes along, and have to play a “prevent” defense when you have four or more children.
In case you don’t watch as much football as I do, her illustration compares rearing children to playing defense in that game. Further, football experts will say that no team can win the big games without a good defense. The offense may be great, but the defense has to stop the other team from running up the score. “The best offense,” they say, “is a good defense.”
But I heard Football Analyst John Madden say something interesting one time. He said sometimes the best defense is a good offense, because the longer the offense can stay on the field, the more the defense can sit on the bench and rest so it can play better when it is called up.
I want to merge this parenting and football analogy and say I think too many parents are playing too much defense with their kids and not enough offense.
Parents are concerned about stopping their children from doing things they know are harmful to them, so they spend their time and energy trying to block them. Parents basically spend their lives running down the field trying to stop their kids from “scoring” against them.
Don’t get me wrong, a good defense is a good idea, but we need to mix some good offensive play in there too. Too many parents are reactive toward their children, trying to fix what is already being done. We need to be proactive, taking deliberate steps to move the ball toward our own goal.
What are your goals are as a family? What do you want your children to achieve? What character traits do you want them to possess? What education goals have you set? What moral decisions do you want them to make?
Some teams earn a few yards at a time by running the ball. This works well in most cases. It uses the clock well and wears down the defense. Other teams grab huge chunks of the field going “long” and making pretty throws and catches. But the best offenses mix it up. This is my advice to parents, too.
The running of the ball is the time we spend together every day. It’s a slow, steady grind. It is when our children see our character and learn our values. As we know, children have a tendency to become who we are. Coaches call these bread and butter plays because they are the basic strategy. The bread and butter of parenting is the time we spend together each and every day. It is difficult to win games without a running game, and it is difficult to be proactive with our children if we don’t spend large chunks of quality time with them.
Then, we go long and mix things up. We go beyond setting an example and do some real teaching. We tell them why we act like we do and believe like we do. Then, it’s back to a few yards at a time in our running game. Sometimes we don’t move the ball at all, but we get back up and try again. Winning is never easy. It takes hard work and dedication, but in parenting, the rewards are worth it.

You can contact Craig at lcraigharris.blogspot.com