This weekend, the year’s second major golf event, the US Open is being played. And, as always, it will conclude on Father’s Day. I find that very appropriate, for golf is much like baseball in that it is a game often passed along from fathers to their sons and daughters. I remember that rainy Sunday at Pinehurst several years ago when, after winning the Open, Payne Stewart grabbed Phil Mickelson by the cheeks and told him that he was going to be a great father. I have heard Davis Love III speak often of how much he learned from his Dad. Jim Furyk’s father taught him to putt cross-handed, a change that, though unorthodox at the time, positioned Furyk for a long and successful PGA Tour career. Like baseball, golf is often handed off to kids by their fathers. The role of a father is much bigger than just a legacy of sports, however. In the New testament, Paul speaks of the father’s role a couple of times when he says: Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (Eph.6:3) Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart. (Col.3:21) I would suggest that there are three keys here:
- Do not provoke or exasperate… why? So they don’t lose heart. This may involve sports in the way that we can sometimes pressure our kids to perform, robbing them of the joy of playing the game
- Do provide discipline… why? In order to teach boundaries and character and to show them where the safe places are in a dangerous world
- Do provide instruction… why? To help them become equipped for life as we teach them out of our own life experiences and the wisdom of the Bible.