Parenting Plays from the Seattle Seahawks

First, and foremost, this article was not written by me. This was written by my Mentor Mom, Patti Heindel, from my local MOPS group here in Kirkland, WA. I just felt the need to share it beyond my group as it hit a high chord with me last night when I read it. I literally began to cry. Being a Seahawk fan myself, I couldn’t help but read it then and there as they handed it out last night. Once I finished it, I shared with my table, in tears, on how I truly needed to read that. It would have helped me much more had I read it at the beginning of my day yesterday as it was my toughest day yet with my 14 month old Michael. But it is appreciated nonetheless. Here is her beautifully written article:

“I am far from a football expert, but I am a serious Seahawks fan. I am also not a parenting expert, but like you, words can’t express how seriously I take the wonderful, God-given opportunity of being a Mom.

Here are some observations that we could apply to parenting our “team”.

Coach Pete Carroll was asked if he worked to create the atmosphere and attitude that he wanted among his team members, or if he just let it happen. He answered definitively that he had to work at it continuously, repeat it frequently and live what he was promoting. The mind-set and ideals he wanted to create wouldn’t “just happen”, and without clear direction, he probably wouldn’t like what happened. The parallel to parenting is clear: we shape the atmosphere in our homes by working at it, repeating it, and living it.

I also heard an interview in which Pete was asked about the diverse “characters” he coaches, and how he deals with their unique personalities. He answered that he doesn’t just “deal with” the differences, he CELEBRATES the differences. I needed that advice 26 years ago when I began my parenting journey! My four children- 3 boys and 1 girls- couldn’t be any more different from one other, my husband or myself. I’m sure it’s the same in your home. I have learned that life is far easier and more peaceful when we happily look at each of our children as the unique creation they are, and celebrate their individual differences.

The Seahawks have a rather unique style of play that is praised because it works, but is also sometimes criticized for being different than the norm. Similarly, the choices that each family makes, the standards they uphold, and the manner in which they raise their children may vary greatly from even like-minded people. We should do what works for our players, be in agreements with the members of our team, and confidently play our game!

Russell Wilson is a visionary. The season before their Superbowl win, he told Coach Pete that they would go to the Superbowl the following year, and they did. He often repeats the words his Dad told him, “Why not us; why not now?” To be honest, this is an area in which I struggled as a parent. It is easy to get stuck in the monotony of everyday tasks, and to be discouraged by the behaviors we see in our children right now. But I can testify that there is hope! We have hope in a faithful God, hope that our diligent efforts will pay off, and hope that they will eventually mature! We can all look ahead with confidence, and communicate to our children that there is a wonderful future in store for them.

As we watch the games, we love when Russell successfully passes the ball to an open receiver or hands it to a waiting running back. But there are times when no one is open, there are defenders coming after him, and he has to scramble, throw the ball away, or suffer the occasional sack. Isn’t this the essence of parental decision making? Frequently, the home is running smoothly, but just as frequently, we are taken off guard by unexpected situations, bad behaviors, or uncertainty about how to respond.

Sometimes we get tackled and just want to lay on the field in pain, but we have to get up and hope the next drive will be more successful. I want to be a consistent, unshakable leader to my children, whatever life may bring.

I have heard various Seahawk players say they are inspired by the determination of Marshawn Lynch as he runs with the football. He will keep plowing toward the goal, even if he is carrying a few defenders with him! We all need people we can look to for inspiration and assistance, especially in this important role of parenting. I am so grateful for MOPS, the local church, and the multitude of resources available to aid us in becoming the best parent we can be.

We have the joy of being our children’s greatest fans, and cheering them to victory as their “12th Man.” Hopefully we can cheer loud enough and long enough that opposing voices are rendered inaudible in their minds and spirits. Our parental support and encouragement is needed whatever our child’s age.

When I stated watching professional football, I was surprised that the game is only 60 minutes long. As we all know, because of all the clock delays, it usually takes 3 or more hours to complete a game. Having grown children, I see profound parallel here. I think every mother understands the saying, “the days are long, but the years are short.” Time passes so quickly, and suddenly the brief season we had with our children is passed.

God has chosen to bless us with the most wonderful opportunity a human can have- coaching young lives for the game He has called them to play. We can win at parenting with the help of our heavenly Coach and each other! GO MOMS!”

About Patti: Patti and her husband Dave have been married for 29 years and have 4 adult children. She loves being involved in The City Church, as well as on the Parent Council at SPU, where two of her boys attend college. She enjoys gardening, traveling and of course, cheering on the Hawks. 

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