I’m not sure there is much in football I detest more than the “prevent” defense. Most of you guys know what I’m referring to. In fact, if you watched any games over the weekend, you surely observed it whether you realized it or not. The “prevent” is utilized in situations that seem to be obvious passing downs. Say the opposing offense is in third and a really long way or trailing before the half or the end of the game, the defense will drop more defenders into coverage to prevent anything too bad from happening.
For our female readers, I hope I’ve not lost you yet, as I am about to explain my disdain for this defense and why it is relevant to our discussion today. For starters, it goes against all that is instinctive as a competitor. The “prevent” is a form of damage control. It is a shift from aggressively attacking with stunts and schemes as a defensive unit, to sitting back and essentially playing to not lose. The idea is to delay what seems to be inevitable. Keep everything in front. It will most likely be a mess and we will give up yardage…but perhaps we’ll hold on and not get beat. The irony is this: the very thing the defense works so hard to keep from allowing often occurs as direct result of implementing the said strategy. When I see my team move into this coverage, I loathingly refer to it as the “prevent a win” defense.
Unfortunately, I’m afraid that many moms and dads are adopting this same type of ideology as their primary parenting strategy. It seems there is fear that a scriptural approach might not be up to the task. There is no use in being so idealistic in this day and age. Struggles are just inevitable, right? So there is a trend to back away from parenting with intentionality and purpose. We’ll give in here and here and maybe allow this and that and perhaps turn a blind eye to whatever else, you can fill in the blank…just as long as our kids like us and we’re friends, we’ll be okay.
With all due respect, are we really content with "okay"? And do we really believe that will work? Were you buddy-buddy with your parents? If so, how did that turn out for you? Hasn’t time shown your parents to be tremendously wiser than you could have ever imagined as a child? For me personally it seems that with each passing year, I realize that I was not only was wrong about having it all figured out, I truly had no clue. My parents weren’t so stupid after all…
Like the aforementioned defensive squads, we often pretend that we can do nothing as parents. We sit back and play damage control, just hoping to survive. Problem is that’s just not so. We have a role, a voice, an influence, and a very special calling as parents. So let’s embrace it! We have not been commissioned to be friends but parents. We have been commanded to love enough to risk hurt feelings for a greater goal, to discipline and correct in order to meet deep-seated needs, not just surface level wants. This game is about preparation for life, not prevention of harm.
With that being said, might we be encouraged to boldly and lovingly engage our children with a far different approach. May we not parent out of fear but out of a deep trust in our Heavenly Play-caller. Might we hold God at His word that tells us to train up a child in the way he should go and that even when he is old he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6). Scripture also makes it abundantly clear that God the Father loves our children far more than we are even capable of. Unlike some football game, we’re not given the benefit of seeing the ticking clock. We’re not guaranteed to see this thing all the way through. But what we know is this: there is victory in Christ and our hope rests in Him. Motivated by such truth and grace – might we parent with bigger plans in mind and play to win the game!