Father. Pastor. Coach.

Today’s post is one of a series of monthly “Family Friday” posts that explore my clarity journey in marriage and parenting. I will be dedicating some blog time each week during November to our family journey through 2-1/2 adoptions to celebrate National Adoption Awareness Month. So check back each Friday in November to hear our story.

As it would turn out, actually having played soccer makes a difference when it comes time to actually coach soccer.

The thing is, I really did not think so at first.

As it would turn out, I also really did not think I was signing up to coach. To me there is a big difference between saying I will “help out” and finding out that I had a team of 7 year old girls that I was responsible for leading.

Lots of things last Fall did not turn out as I thought they might, especially when it came to relating to my daughter as her Father, Pastor and Coach.

“Coaching Soccer for Dummies” did not really prepare me for the identity struggle I would experience when I picked up this third identity in my child’s life. I have learned that nothing brings clarity to who you think you are when you are attempting to coach your child in their first team sport, and it is a sport you have not played since you were their age.

Coaching her was more than telling her what to do, and I am embarrassed to say that it took me a couple of practices to realize why she would not respond to me the same as the other girls did. No amount of on-the-way-to-practice truck conversations would break the barrier that I was Daddy first, Coach second. And I was not ever completely sure that I ever wanted to be Coach first, even if for just the 60 minutes of practice.

We all have times when our identity lines become fuzzy, when as leaders we are called to lead those who know us better than most, our family. If we are relying on positional authority in leadership, it becomes quickly apparent that personal influence matters more. Also, if you are relying on football and basketball drills, it becomes quickly apparent that soccer drills lead to more wins.

Through this identity lens, my goals in this next season of parenting are:

  1. to focus less on my position as the father, and more on the influence of fatherhood.
  2. to teach my kids that WHY we do what we do influences WHAT we do, and not vice versa.
  3. to build in my son and daughter a strength of leadership and confident identity apart from any position or title they carry.
  4. to not sign up to coach lacrosse, gymnastics, or really, anything other than football and basketball.

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