If I could tell young parents one thing about parenting, I would say to be aware of God’s place in your children’s lives. It is important to allow them to have ownership of their relationship with God. Many times I am pretty sure as a parent I allowed my voice to be the LOUD voice in my kids’ lives instead of taking a step back and urging them to seek God.

One way I feel this could have been achieved in our family would have been to encourage our kids to not spend quite as much time on the golf course. Instead, I would have let their “territory” be expanded into a wider variety of and exposure to other things. I would have given them a set amount of time to focus on golf, then allow them time to pursue other endeavors.

Looking back, I still feel they would have earned and achieved their scholarship and opportunities to play college golf even with limiting the amount of time they worked on the sport. Don’t misunderstand me. Golf has taught our kids, and me for that matter, so many life lessons, but life is more than the sport they play. I urge young parents out there to NOT LET THE PURSUIT OF YOUR KID’S DREAM OF PLAYING A SPORT TO A HIGH LEVEL dominate too much of their lives. Don’t allow it to eat up too much time. There are other areas of life that can only be learned outside of their sport, or sports, of choice.

Now that I am in the Back 9, I realize I could have encouraged our children to go on mission trips, to attend Christian camps, youth group, and other experiences where I could not necessarily join them. My not being present would have provided them the opportunity to be by themselves which would have forced them to depend on God instead of looking to me.

Playing golf was a great thing and they couldn’t always look to me when they played. I couldn’t think for them, hit their shots for them or accept the outcomes for them. I wish I had offered them a wider world of independence in many areas. They say hindsight is always 20/20, and it is. I trust that God will restore and replace regrets that I have in our parenting. But in the Back 9, if I can help one parent not make the same “double bogey” that we made, I certainly want to do it.

I didn’t grow up playing sports but I did grow up dancing and competing. I do encourage parents to allow their kids to explore their talents. I feel that competition can be a good thing when handled properly. God has taught our entire family many beneficial lessons through competition. For example, it teaches how to lose with grace, how to accept defeat, how to be happy for the success of others, how hard work eventually pays off, how slacking off in your work has consequences and the list goes on and on.

Keeping score is not a bad thing…….it for sure is a vivid picture of where you are in your game. It has taught our kids you can work hard……..and still may not get the score you feel you deserve…… in life…….how many times have you worked hard on a proposal, courted a potential client, only to get overlooked for the job????? Allowing your kids to compete is a good thing. But… needs to have “BALANCE”……just like the food we eat, the exercise we need, or the sleep we require……….too much of any of it is not a good thing.

I feel that if I had allowed my kids to be in environments where their sport was not the focus, it would have given them more of an opportunity to grow their faith and sharpen their awareness of God in their lives.

The critical first step I believe in forging your kids to Own their relationship with God…….. is first……establishing order and balance. You cannot tell your kids to have God first in their lives, then tell them He is first in your life, when you are actually living out loud before them that He is second. They will duplicate what they SEE, not what they HEAR.

Second…..IF the pursuit of “success” looks like power, prestige, position, possessions, or even pleasure, and these are where you spend the majority of your time, once again, living out loud that these are your primary goals….then they will dominate your life and theirs. The ability to “own a personal relationship with Christ” will be very difficult, if at all possible to achieve.

I leave you with a very powerful verse….a life verse….that many memorize…but very often……a busy life with kids and agendas can leave out…….Matthew 6:33, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

In order to lead a balanced life and fulfill the desire as a Christian parent to have your kids own their relationship with Christ…..the balance starts with Seeking God in all things…..especially where you spend your time and where you allow your kids to spend theirs.

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