We are what some people call a “football family”. Each member either enjoys playing, watching, or coaching the game. Even though we enjoy the strategy of the coaches, the athleticism of the players, and the enthusiasm of the fans, some of the participants I appreciate the most are the officials.

While they do not make the rules of the game, the officials are committed and resolved to uphold them. It’s not enough for these people to merely look the part by wearing black and white stripes and donning a whistle. In order to be effective, they must be familiar with and ready to enforce the standards they strive to uphold. This means that officials cannot rule according to personal preference, but must choose to maintain objectivity. They do not have the luxury of calling a time out for their own needs, like resting on the sidelines or enjoying a hot dog. Until the final horn blows, it is necessary for their minds to be constantly focused on the game.

What do the officials in a football game have to do with parenting?

• Even though parents do not establish God’s standard for living, they should be committed and resolved to uphold it.

• It’s not enough that adults look like godly parents by purchasing their children Bibles and taking them to church. In order to parent God’s way, they must know the truth of His Word for themselves and strive to consistently act on its principles. (A parent who knows, understands, and applies godly principles in the home is an effective parent for God’s kingdom.)

• In order to train children in godliness, a parent must establish objectivity based on the truth of God’s Word rather than on personal feelings or opinions. He must compare each child’s behavior with God’s standard rather than with the standards set by other parents or society.

• At the moment a parent receives a child into their family it is “ GAME ON”. This means that until God takes you home to heaven, you will continue to be that child’s parent. Even though there may be times when parenting may become tedious, trying, or even exhausting, God will triumphantly see you through. Remember, although your role as a parent may change through the seasons of your child’s life, God has carefully appointed you to hold this significant role of spiritual influence. Therefore, you should continually take this role seriously.

It’s encouraging that football officials have the ability to review a previous play by video if they suspect that the play might have been incorrectly called. In the same way, the reviewed video enables the officials to see a play clearly and objectively, the Holy Spirit enables parents to recognize errors in judgment when they rely on Him. Also, it’s encouraging to know that children gain great respect for parents who are willing to acknowledge their mistakes and strive to correct them.

Just as an effective official will become known as reputable, a parent striving to live for Christ will gain a righteous reputation with those who know him. As a result, his children are trained to walk according to God’s will and Christ is honored.

*Image courtsey je1196