As a mom of four sons I watch more than my fair share of sports analysis shows. First I heard that Tebow wasn’t good enough to make it in the NFL, so the talking heads said. Then game by game, pass by pass, Tim Tebow and his Denver Broncos have soared against the odds culminating with Sunday night’s spectacular overtime pass, Demaryius Thomas run and thrilling win. And what did Tim Tebow do? He thanked God. He knelt down on one knee in a stance that is well known by football fans, and for a few seconds he thanked God. Short, sweet and effective. Afterward the talking heads made fun of him by mimicking the gesture. How disappointing.
Every day we Catholic parents engage in a high stakes tug-of-war. Seizing one side of the rope, Satan grasps the other and yanks so hard he knocks parents down in his attempt to capture the most precious of all prizes: our children’s souls.
Remember when our kids cuddled and cooed, and the only thing they drank was milk? Remember when our word and our world were good enough for them? What we parents said was gospel. A furrowed brow or raised eyebrow telegraphed a fall from grace. Smart toddlers changed their tune or endured the consequence. A five minute time-out perhaps, then all was good again. A fresh start. Smiling parents. Happy children. Life was simple living among Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Barney.
And then the little darlings did the unthinkable: They grew up, found new playmates, and questioned authority – our authority. Suddenly their peers knew more than we did; the tug-of-war was on. Once our children entered school we Catholic moms and dads struggled against everything that attracted our children like magnets. In place of parents, teachers became the child’s authority for the better part of every day. One teacher to 20 or more kids. One teacher against the forces that work to weaken our children.
We did our best to console, to rationalize, to point out all the wonderful parts of their day, but we began to lose ground. In tug-of-war one finds it much wiser to let out just a bit of rope a little at a time rather than allow the rope to be pulled with one great tug from our hands because once the rope is gone, it’s gone. Pulling firmly and consistently molds the child and eliminates rope burn on both ends.
So we tried. Oh, how we tried. We hung on tight reassuring our young ones, wiping tears, advising against the bully, the snob and that truly horrible child every classroom seemed to contain. We did our best. To Whom did we run when the pressure felt too great? God, always God. And He infused us with His strength to combat that peer pressure our children were battling each day. I wonder how many times Tim Tebow has turned to God in times of despair as the national spotlight shone down on him? Some people watch Tebow hoping he will fail. These disgruntled ones just don’t get it. Success and a deep faith in God are just too much for some people to handle. They’ve lost their own end of the rope which connects them to God. But Tebow hasn’t given in to peer pressure. And he sure hasn’t failed.
Before we knew it our own kids were in middle school. Mario saving the princess made way for Call of Duty soldiers murdering each other in every conceivable horrific manner. “But Mom, everyone plays it. It’s just a game.” No. Tag is a game. Parcheesi is a game. Systematically shooting, stabbing and blowing up people is not a game. This was a violent tug of the rope. Smart parents threw the game away. Smarter parents never bought it. Really dumb ones drove their children to the video store at midnight whenever each newer, more disgusting edition was released. And those silly children who thought they had won a major triumph succeeded in losing more of their innocence as Satan gained a firmer foothold.
Life hurled at us at warp speed. The more children we had the faster life sped by us. Hardly having time to breathe, we clutched valiantly to our children’s lifelines. We read to them. We sang to them. We listened to what our children were saying even when they weren’t saying much. We racked our parental brains to think up wholesome activities. Picnics, playing cards, taking a walk with a child one-on-one all broadcast a most important message: You are special to me and I love you so much that I choose to spend my time with you. On those days Satan lost ground.
During last night’s Broncos’ win Satan also lost ground. Thank God for Tim Tebow and his very public, yet simple expression of gratitude to the One Who got him there and keeps him there. Something of which I am sure, win or lose in Saturday’s upcoming game against the Patriots, Tebow will be thanking God. He’s just that kind of guy – a great example for our children. Good luck in Saturday’s upcoming game, Mr. Tebow. We’ll all be watching.
Copyright 2012 Maureen Locher