Train Them Up

by Mike Enslen This spring marks my sixth year as a youth baseball coach. As a former player and lifelong fan of the game, the role of coach fits me. I love teaching the fundamentals and complexities of baseball and seeing players progress through each season. But I found early on that my role on the field is more than just showing the kids how to field, hit and pitch. The most important lessons I try to teach them on the field include how to communicate properly with their teammates, be disciplined, show respect to coaches, umpires and other players, and recover from a missed play or strikeout. I also like to explain to them how the game is much more fun when you understand how to win with integrity, or more importantly, lose with integrity.
I only have these kids on my team for a few short months, which does not leave much time to make an impact. But the truth is, after the season ends I am still “coach” to this whole group of kids that I’ve worked with over the years, and I need to remain a positive example to them. They should see the lessons I have taught them being lived out in my life, no matter when or where I may cross paths with them. If I’ve done my job right, they will not just be better ballplayers and learn important life lessons, but they will see the teachings of Jesus Christ being lived out in my life!
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)
This idea of “training up” is not reserved for coaches (or teachers, or church leaders, or parents…). We all have an opportunity to impact others in our daily walk. Who are you coaching in YOUR life? Maybe you’re impacting someone and you don’t even know it. It’s not easy to be “on” 100% of the time, not knowing what someone will hear you say or see you do. But what a gift we can give to others, especially those who look to us for direction, that when they look at us they see Jesus’ love and encouragement staring back at them.
Heavenly Father, I thank you for the opportunity to be an example for others and I pray that you would guide what I say and do as I live a life for You. Amen.

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