Basketball can be played two ways. It can be played with the kind of sportsmanship that is gracious in winning and gracious in losing. Or basketball can be played merely for the win and money. The winning and money are legacies of some pros who have marred the dignity of the game with their tantrums, profanity, official bashing and bitter excuses.
We as parents and parent figures have similar options. We can concentrate on developing our own self-control, skill and reactions. Or we can divert attention for our own weaknesses by blaming others for our problems. With the latter approach, being a parent or parent figure crumbles into excuses like, “These kids are driving me crazy. They make me so mad. Sometimes I think I’m losing my mind. I know I shouldn’t yell and scream, but I can’t help it.
Our first parents started the ball of flame rolling. Adam blamed Eve. Eve blamed the serpent. The devil-snake undoubtedly blamed God. But God held Adam responsible for his choices. He made Eve accountable for what she decided to do. The serpent did not get off the hook either.
Today we are inclined to say that our parenting problems are the result of our own parent‘s mistakes. There may not be a lot of truth to that. But for a long time ago, God taught His people not to blame others for their own choices.
The scriptures also show that being under the influence of our own parents does not suspend responsibility for how we choose to respond that influence. It is up to us to choose whether we will unconsciously follow the example of our parents, consciously aspire to it, or deliberately choose another path.
An immature adolescent son or daughter may push us to the limits. An alcoholic father or neurotic mother may hover in our memories. But none of them gives us an excuse to be adolescent, angry, argumentative, or abusive in our behavior.
It’s not whether we eventually win or lose our children, but how we play the game that counts.