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Moving to the Sideline

sideline

Ever seen a 4 year old soccer game? Parents are spread out all over the field. Some parents would be in the middle of the field, some right next to their kids, some holding hands with their kids, and somewhere in the middle was the soccer ball. It proved to be a great way to help 4 year olds ease into soccer as a sport.

It’s also a great symbol for how parenting works. When those same kids are playing 10 year old soccer, guess where the parents are? Not in the middle of the field, they’re on the sideline. The sideline. Just out of view, but still participating from a distance.

Parents need to accept that as kids approach the preteen years, kis will see parents as on the periphery. They won’t consider their parents as part of their “real life” with their friends. The good news is that this is perfectly natural. It has to happen for our children as they mature and grow up. They can’t depend on us forever, so from preteen ages and beyond they begin to exerct some independence and show what they can do all by themselves.

Will they fail? You betcha!

It’s hard for us as parents, but it’s necessary. Time to start planning your sideline strategy. How will you influence the game from the periphery?

Jonathan Cliff is married to his wife Starr and they together live out their days with two sons and a daughter. Jonathan serves as one of the Pastors at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tennessee; where he works with leaders throughout the city to help develop Christian community that leads to deep and meaningful spiritual friendships. His journey has been an adventurous one, having served in the local church for 15 years in family ministry developing leaders, building environments for kids and students to belong, and encouraging parents to take big spiritual steps with their families.