“That’s it! I’m going to raise a quarterback.”
I remember the day I made that bold and naive statement. I was coaching at a high school in southwest Washington. The coaches had just come off the field and were frustrated at how little our quarterbacks seemed to understood the basic elements of playing that important position. My oldest son Tavita was in 4th grade so I made the decision I was going to raise him to be a quarterback. What I discovered changed my parenting forever.
What to look for in a Quarterback
As I looked into what it took to be a great quarterback most of what I read had nothing to do with throwing or running a football. Certainly a quarterback had to be able to throw and have some athletic ability. But what I heard most often about were things like, leadership, confidence, self-control, able to handle pressure, decision making, smart, tough, respected, integrity. Doesn’t that sound more like someone running for president? Actually, don’t answer that question! But seriously are we talking about a Quarterback or the CEO for Boeing?
My Sons at Quarterback
I’ve had the privilege of coaching my three oldest boys. They have all been quarterbacks. In fact, 9 out of the last 10 years our high school team has had a Pritchard at quarterback. The first and oldest was Tavita, that little fourth grader I set out to train. He was blessed with some physical abilities that enabled him to make it to the college level as a quarterback. He started two years at Stanford University. He would have been the most experienced quarterback in the Pac-10 his senior year. That is until he lost his spot to a freshman kid named Andrew Luck.
Today Tavita coaches the quarterbacks at Stanford. So he flies all over the country looking for young men that possess all these qualities. Of course most kids aren’t destined to be the next Andrew Luck. In fact most kids won’t end up playing quarterback for their high school team, much less in college or the pros. In their research, for the book Revolutionary Parenting, the Barna group discovered that 100% of the parents of Spiritual Champions (a term they coined) said teaching Godly character was the most important thing to teach your children. So yes, you should raise your kids to be a quarterback – just feel free to skip the football drills!
The Big Three
Let me leave you with the big three. All the character qualities are important, but we have found these three to be the most critical when it comes to raising spiritual champions (or quarterbacks depending on your immediate need).
- Self-control – we actually teach this as one of the three most important things to teach your child. It takes self-control to live out the other character qualities.
- Leadership – we are raising “nice” Christian kids. We want kids to be kind, but we also want them to stand up and lead, especially when so many are following the wrong leaders.
- Integrity – lining up what they know in their head, with what they believe in their heart, with what they do with their actions.
With or without a football, these are great qualities to parent into our children. Start early and don’t give up. Maybe you’ll never have a quarterback, but you’ll have something better – a spiritual champion.
Do you agree with our “Big Three” or do you have a different three? We’d love to hear from you.