Having won two National Championships and the Heisman Trophy at the University of Florida, Tim Tebow is debatably one the greatest college football players of all time. And whether you’re a fan of his unconventional throwing style or not, I’ll assume we can agree that his good character is undeniable.
I’m not saying Tebow’s good character is undeniable because I agree with his faith (and I do) or whether it’s because he takes every opportunity to give glory to God, his family and football (yes, in that order), but because as a mother, no matter what my children decide to do as a profession when they grow up – whether an NFL quarterback, F-16 fighter pilot, Nobel prize recipient, blogger, accountant, construction worker – I want them to have the same conviction and confidence in their beliefs and value system as Tim Tebow. In this case, that means ensuring their Christian faith serves as the cornerstone for all their decisions and activities. You may have a different belief and value system than the Tebows, but I bet you hope your children make decisions that are in line with what you’ve taught them and are able to proudly tell the world why they’ve made their decisions.
Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting Mrs. Pam Tebow, mother of NFL quarterback Tim Tebow, and hearing Bob and Pam Tebow (Tim’s parents) speak at North Ridge Community Church near Scottsdale, Arizona about their faith and guidelines for a winning family.
Mr. and Mrs. Tebow have five children – all successful in their own right. Their two daughters are Christy and Katie and three sons are Robby, Peter, and Timmy.
These are the key highlights I learned from Bob and Pam Tebow about raising successful children:
Use your energy for good. If you’re a mom of little boys (mine are ages 5 and 7), you might see that little boys don’t always use their energy for good! (“Don’t jump on the furniture!”) Whether you work or have other hobbies, your family is (or should be) your biggest priority.
Most parents (at least one) have to work. Unless you have a trust fund, we all have to work to pay our bills. And some of us enjoy working. However, as a parent, our significance in life and in the lives of our children is to use our energy to be the best parent or grandparent we can be and help our children learn their true purpose in life. In our case as parents, that “good” is to teach our children to have confidence in their convictions and share their message and purpose with the world (Ephesians 2: 8-10 ). Teach your children to use their energy for good.
Make your belief system the foundation of your family. Bob and Pam Tebow turned to the Bible as their primary parenting book. They infused scripture into family devotion time and rewarded their children for memorizing scripture. When their kids were little, they used songs to help their kids remember scripture, because “what is learned in song is remembered long.” Bob Tebow rewarded his kids with “Daddy Dollars” (fake money) with which their kids could buy TV time, computer time and other privileges.
The Tebow kids were able to apply the scriptures they memorized to their everyday lives. For example, when in college, Katie Tebow had her heart set on dating and marrying a football player. When she went to see one of the players at an event and saw how he reacted poorly with a bad temper, she was able to call her Mom and tell her that she remembered the verse from Proverbs 22:24 which says, “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person; do not associate with one easily angered.” Later, while working in an internship with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Katie met and later married Gannon Shepherd. And to this day, she’s able to say she’s never seen him lose his temper once.
Anytime the Tebow kids were fearful and needed courage, they applied scripture learned from Psalms 56: 3-4. It helped them remember that fear is paralyzing and most fear is generally about imaginary things or events that will never happen. It’s also a reminder that people of the Christian faith should only be afraid of not having eternal life.
Your children are gifts. A child’s greatest need is to know and receive love from their parents. As Moms, we are especially equipped to love our kids – even through their mistakes. Don’t compare them to other kids. Each child is unique and was created for a special purpose.
It’s also our jobs as parents to help shape our children, or as Bob Tebow described, to “whittle them like an arrow until they shoot straight to the target.” And in the case of the Tebow kids, that target is to glorify God in all that they do.
Develop character goals. Implement specific character goals while your children are young and it will help to shape them as they grow up and make decisions with more costly outcomes. For example, one character goal for the Tebow family was to choose friends wisely. Another goal was to never brag on yourself. “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips” (Proverbs 27:2).
Your parenting journey continues whenever and wherever you are at the moment. Regardless of the age of your children or the mistakes you’ve made as a parent, you can always improve upon your purpose.
Bob and Pam Tebow’s faith and family guidelines shaped a child who is now a well-known NFL quarterback. He shares his faith every chance he gets while under constant scrutiny for his Christian beliefs and every move he makes on the gridiron.
Tim Tebow’s faith, and that of his family, may not be the only truth for everyone, but I find it admirable that he uses his platform to build a legacy that – despite his critics – keeps on making a difference in people’s lives.
Photo Source: Helga Esteb for Shutterstock