Monday, December 14, 2009

the death of a father and what constitutes good parenting: the cases of Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods?

hat tip: some guy who called Colin Cowherd's ESPN radio show...

I don't know much about Michael Jordan's father-- and I probably don't know enough about Tiger Woods' father. But the caller made a provocative point that both fathers had dominant personalities; had a very strong influence on their sons lives; and died when their sons were in their early 30s. In both cases, their sons faced severe problems when unhinged from those rocks. (The caller referred to David Halberstam's book on Jordan. I didn't know Halberstam had written a book about Jordan. I've enjoyed many of his other books.)

Even if the correlation is there, was it causation?

An interesting and provocative question-- with applications to "good parenting" in the short-term and especially in the long-term.

I've often said that my goal is not to get my kids to behave per se. I'm pretty confident that I could get that if I worked at it hard enough and just squelched them.

Instead, I'm after the long-term goal of children who love and fear God-- who are obedient and submissive to God, love and serve others, and so on.

Putting it another way: getting them to behave is a short-term goal; working to build their character and shape their hearts is the over-arching long-term goal.

It reminds me of the unfortunately obscure story of King Joash and his mentor Jehoiada (II Kings 12 and especially II Chron 24). Joash does well when his mentor is alive, but once he dies, it gets brutal. This is a sobering lesson for parenting: getting Joash to behave well when Jehoiada is alive is ok, but it missed out on the far larger goal of Joash's righteousness and godliness when Jehoaida would exit the stage.

4 Comments:

At December 15, 2009 at 12:41 PM , Blogger Carl P. Kroboth III said...

I often hear from other and teachers outside my home..."Emilie is so well behaved and respectful." To which I chuckle inside and say to myself "Really you don't see her at home." But you are right I am training her to be disconnected from me at some point...

I know I struggled hard when my Dad died to find my footing... But the Rock that saved me is the Rock that never fail. Just makes you wonder if Faith in Christ ever played a role for Tiger and MJ....

 
At December 15, 2009 at 12:44 PM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...

From a Biblical worldview, running astray is quite predictable, especially for those who have built their house on the sand and who have access to a range of tremendous physical and spiritual temptations.

 
At December 15, 2009 at 12:52 PM , Blogger Carl P. Kroboth III said...

Well there is the "prodigal son"...

Wonder if there is more to be learned as a parent from the father of the wayward son, than I realized before...HMMM.

 
At December 15, 2009 at 12:54 PM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...

The prodigal is the one that tends to get our focus. But the son who stayed behind is a mess-- and to one point in the story-- will be more difficult to redeem for Kingdom purposes.

In a word, I'd rather raise a prodigal than an elder son, but of course, I'd rather end up with either!

 

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