Posts tagged raising children of faith

Carson Palmer’s highlight reel



This weekend, Carson Palmer will lead his Arizona Cardinals against the Carolina Panthers for the right to represent the NFC in the 50th Super Bowl. It’s an unfulfilled dream of his 12-year NFL career.

“I don’t want to be done, watching football on Sundays, and saying I never got a chance to play in the Super Bowl,” Palmer said in a 2014 interview with USA Today. “That lingers, heavily. Not that that’s going to make me the man that I am or the father or the husband. That’s not going to define me. But I want to experience that. I want to experience a run — a chance where you just get hot and you hit the playoffs and you make one of those runs, those magical (runs). However long it lasts, I want to be able to experience that.”

Palmer has had one of those runs, one of those hot streaks during the 2015 season, despite ending the previous year rehabbing a re-torn ACL. So in a way, this season is already reaching a goal. But it’s not the ultimate goal.

In the middle of that quote from the 2014 USA Today interview, you can see that football is not at the center of who Carson Palmer is as a man. That is made even more clear in a current Dove Men+Care commercial making the rounds on TV and the Internet. Consider it Carson Palmer’s real highlight reel.

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“As a professional quarterback, there’s so much pressure and so much on your shoulders. When you come home, you just get to be dad and shut it off. I go to work as a football player, but I was put on this earth to be a father.

highlight reelThat final quote from the commercial makes it pretty clear that football is not at the center of his life. Actually, though, neither is his family. In an 2011 interview with Sports Spectrum, he revealed that his faith in Christ is at the core of his identity as a good man, husband, and father. He also talked about the influence of strong Christian mentors, like former longtime QB Jon Kitna.

Truth is, Palmer is not the only quarterback who claims Christ to lead his team to the NFL playoff’s this year. In fact, of the 12 teams that made it, at least half were led to the playoffs by those who profess Christ. Some may have a stronger testimony than others, but here are some of the notable ones:

And it’s not just the quarterbacks who are emerging as believers and good men. Many high-profile players are speaking out about their faith and their families. It’s great to see Dove and other companies holding these men up as examples through a highlight reel of what really matters in their lives. Hopefully during the playoffs and Super Bowl, we’ll see more great commercials like the one featuring Carson Palmer.

Fan the flames of faith, fathers



fan the flames of faith

Photo by Jesse Millan

Building a simple fire pit in the backyard was key in building up the spiritual condition of our children.

Barbara and I have been blessed with six children. Sitting in the auditorium the afternoon that our youngest, Laura, graduated from high school, my heart swelled with a mixture of delight and sadness. Sure, I was thrilled at her accomplishment. But my mind couldn’t let go of the fact that it was just yesterday when I, the proud daddy, held Laura in my arms for the first time. As she walked across the stage to receive her diploma, I remembered when she took her first steps. As she adjusted her cap and gown, I recalled the first day she played dress-up.

Talk about a bittersweet moment.

Sometime later I was thinking about the implications of her graduation. A school official had handed Laura a diploma certifying she had completed her studies. She had learned her lessons well. She was ready to move on.

Or was she?

Actually, yes. While I knew that piece of paper wouldn’t sustain her when the storms of life thundered, Barbara and I worked hard to instill in her something that would: a heart for Jesus. And you know what? One of the single best things I did as a father to enhance her spiritual heritage, as well as that of each of our children, might surprise you.

I built a fire pit.

That’s right. A good, old-fashioned campfire pit in our backyard. The kids loved to sit on a log or on a stone around the flames as we’d swap stories, share the Scriptures, talk about the day, or sing a favorite song. With the crickets adding their serenade, we’d roast hotdogs, marshmallows … and occasionally s’mores.

One thing is sure. Those countless visits to the campfire sparked the fire of faith that burned brightly in Laura’s eyes as she walked the aisle.

How about you? Do you want to pass along your faith, your values, and your heart for God to your children? This summer, why not consider something as “low tech” as a campfire. As the Apostle Paul said, “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you” (2Timothy 1:6a).

A week after her graduation, I stood by the fire pit and pondered: The days of fanning the flames of our children’s faith are not over — it’s just a new season. Our children will never lose their need to be cheered on in the race of life by their parents. I pray that my life “glows” as one who continually points them back to the Savior.

Fan the flames of faith, fathers.

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