Sitting at the table dressed in formal attire taking in all the sights, sounds, and feelings of our son’s wedding reception, I heard my husband’s words to our new daughter-in-law as he proposed a toast. “Lori, welcome to team Hitchcock!”
How sweet I thought, proud of my husband’s observation. I hoped it would thrill her as much as it did me. That’s what most of us desire–a place where we belong, a place where we can focus on our individual strengths, a place where can make a mistake and know that someone else will cover our back, a place of knowing the rules and what is important, a place where we have purpose.
But how do we build that into our homes when life seems to be so fast-paced as our kids head into the tween and teen years? How do we solidify the team so that even as they head off to college or get married, that they still have a place on our team?
First, we need to recognize that God made our kids separate human beings with their own thoughts, feelings, skills, and abilities. Somehow in the midst of our parenting journey our job is to encourage our kids to think, to feel, and to act in line with our values–and when they chose differently, natural consequences follow.
It means coaching rather than directing as they become tweens. A coach doesn’t direct every move and call every shot. Each team member is given increasing freedom in their role knowing that the coach can make them sit the bench if they are too far out of bounds.
Team goals need to be communicated, understood, and encouraged. Communicate desires, focus on their strengths, and let them hear words of affirmation from you when they get it right, especially when it involves pursuit of “covering a teammates back.” If we can positively communicate to our kids that they are each others’ cheerleaders, we’re on the way to a fun team, even if they don’t always score the winning run.
Relationships become “I win–You win” giving each member a sense of “we”.
When you are the parent, working toward the same goal says:
- I respect you enough to let natural consequences fall into place when you choose disobedience.
- I’m willing to put boundaries in place to protect our home, our family and encourage you toward maturity.
- I’m willing to let you mess up the first time, if we haven’t talked about it in advance, but next time you’ll be held accountable for your actions because you know the consequence.
- If I give you too much freedom too soon, I’ll apologize and teach you the concepts again coaching you through the new moves, hoping for a better outcome next time.
A team mentality means says we want the same things. Winning the game says we will want you to move out of the house someday. You will know what freedom looks like such that you will be mature enough not to abuse it. You will have skills and boundaries that been well honed for your own family.
Being a team says that no matter what, Mom and Dad will work together to call the same plays.
1 Corinthians 16:13-14 ESV
Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.
Dare you to set a team vision for your family that will garner love, respect, and a win-win mentality for everyone on the team.
“Let go…and let God”,