Having kids — little mini me’s — is truly a blessing. It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth every moment.
Some of the best parenting lessons I’ve learned have come from seeing the way other people parent, learning the tricks of the trade through others I regard highly. I love watching my teammates who have kids, to see the way they parent, specifically while in the NFL.
My buddy, Trey Burton, is an amazing dad to his kids and husband to his wife. Parenting in the NFL is a unique and sometimes difficult situation. It’s a whole different culture to navigate for dads. The way he cares for his family and balances his career is admirable. It’s also been helpful to have parents who raised us in really great ways. I take a lot of advice from them, as well as my wife’s parents. But some of the best lessons are learned on the go, as we figure out everyday life with kids.
My son, Micah, is 7 years old now. He and his younger brother love playing sports; we’re playing football at the house together all the time now. It’s so fun to watch them grow and be a part of their lives as they discover who God has created them to be. I love that they love sports, but the hard part is, with my schedule in the NFL, I have to miss a lot of their games. Having to put together final details of our strategy with the team on Saturday, or on the road for away games, I often don’t get to be there. Those are the tough moments of being an NFL dad. But I make sure to sit down with Micah and watch the videos my wife takes of his games, and discuss with him the different plays and outcomes. I also try to call my boys after their practices to hear all about what they’re doing. It’s about staying plugged in, paying attention to what matters to them, and showing them I care no matter where I am that day.
We want our kids to be in the world, but not of it. We want them to experience and see things that are age-appropriate, without sheltering them to what is real. Many parents want to make things as comfortable as they can for their kids, and while we do want to protect them, we don’t want to keep them away from what’s realistic. I don’t think that’s healthy for anyone. We are preparing our kids to be soldiers for Christ in a real world, so that as they grow older, they can go out, fully equipped for any situation in which they may share the Gospel with others.
In our house, what we say as parents goes. But we also want our kids to know that they can always ask questions about why we are doing things. We want to explain the reasons why we discipline them, so they can understand our love and protection over them. We don’t have a heavy hand on them for no reason. We aim to train them up in Godliness so they can be fully equipped as the men and women God has created and called them to be.
— Chris Maragos, Philadelphia Eagles safety
The Increase, part of the Sports Spectrum Network, is a community of Christian pro athletes sharing their personal stories of the decrease of self and the increase of Christ (John 3:30). Visit TheIncrease.com for more stories and videos.