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Blended Families often seek Encouragement, Hope, Motivation and Insight. Join us here each week for practical & powerful ways to rise up & defeat those challenges that can weaken, damage or destroy your family.
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Thursday, April 26, 2012


What Do Referees and Blended Families Have in Common?
How Calling Fouls (On Your Stepchildren) Changes The Game.

Blended Family Life and Sports have similar scenarios.

I was a basketball referee for 10 years.  Was accepted into the NBA Referee Development Program in the early 80's. Great season of my life.  Then I went into a 'Public Service' season (politics is the ugly side of Public SERVICE) for 10 years.  Seems I always picked avocations where you get yelled at. Referee.  Elected Official.  Sooner or later.  You get booed.  Could be some form of a character quirk there huh?  Heh, heh. 

On the basketball court a ref is half right or half wrong depending who someones cheering for. You'll be told 'great ref' to 'get some glasses you bum'. In politics you can go from 90% 'great guy popular' to 90% 'throw the bum out' with one vote on an issue. From Hero to Zero in a day I called it.

That tenuous balancing act in refereeing and politics holds some similarities to our modern day world of stepfamily life and it's dynamics.  Often there are 'commentators' or 'broadcasters' who want to prognosticate about you as a parent, spouse or member in a family unit.  Some are just drooling and waiting for you to slip up so they can air the famous 'I told you so!'.  Sometimes family members are quick to point fingers instead of slow to speak, quick to understand and extend grace.  We've become the 'arm chair quarterbacks' of family life in society.  We say 'We can do better America.  Let's look for the good in every person!'

In traditional nuclear families a parent can 'make the call/call a foul' on a something a child did wrong or inappropriately, yet the child has full knowledge that the parent loves them unconditionally.  With stepchildren, sometimes a parent can 'make the call/call the foul' and a child feels less secure in the circumstances. That even the 'home crowd' is against them.  That they have no 'home court advantage'.  Great blended families work together, support each other, work together unselfishly to create a great home turf, the home court advantage. (Zig Ziglar speaks on this)

To some stepchildren, especially early on in a new family situation, every 'foul' called seems like they are being called for a 'Technical Foul'.  Throw out of the game. (relationship or love) As parents, we can work together to set household rules upfront and out front.  To make sure that we as husband and wife also upfront know WHO is to make the call and when.  To be slow to let the play unfold.  Don't rush to 'blow the whistle' on every call or behavior.  Work to let God guide you and say 'Be still and know that I am God'. (Psalm 46:10) Call the game with a clear understanding that it's a 'long season' and you don't want to crush a player (child) with a poor judgment call.  Make sure you create - again as our good friend Zig Ziglar says - the 'Home Court Advantage'.  That your family knows you love them and are here for them no matter what.  That we learn from mistakes, we are growing and bonding one day at a time.  Trials will exist, but remind them always 'this too shall pass'.   Encourage 10 times for every 1 discipline. 

One thing we learned in the NBA Referee Development Program was to 'see' the whole court.  Not just one action.  To scan what is going on.  Many refs focus just on the basketball and lose track of the other 'stuff' going on on the court.  How can you relate to that as parents in your 'home court'.

Parents...be aware of your 'home court'. Be keenly aware of body language, countenances, friendships, activities, Facebook, cell phones, etc.  While we should allow for reasonable freedom for our children, there is an overboard and damaging myth and trend that promotes 'let a teen make their own decisions'.  We've seen this in some families and 'freedom' actually 'slows maturity' in kids in teens or early 20's.  They are impacted by a lack of foundational guidance to do the right thing, and this can create an 'all about me' selfishness that is clearly too evident in society in general as a whole. 

Children deep inside want boundaries from parents.  They want leadership.  Unconditional love.  Research clearly shows the safe and solid boundaries, coupled with solid encouragement and support create healthier children.  We like to share to 'Encourage 10 times to every 1 discipline.'  You'll create a champion child who understand love, respect, authority and honor...all while knowing they are able to both stumble and do great things and you will be with them just the same in all circumstances.

Be cautious not to let divorce / two homes for a child create a 'never call a foul' environment in order to 'win' love.   That's not good either.  Parents in both homes, remember, you are not in competition for the children.  It's okay for children to love both homes.  Kids are not 'wired' to have to choose.  They want to feel safe to love.  It is generally the parents who create a 'they must be bad, so I am good' sad scenarioMost everybody is good.  Nobody is perfect.  Look for the GOOD in all people.

My great friend Jesse Hall holds a double special place in my heart.   He was one of three people who talked to me the most about the Lord and thus brought me to Him.  Jesse also got me into the NBA Referee Development Program.  One is eternal. Both are thrilling.  Jesse still is in the NBA record books as being the referee in the highest scoring game in NBA history.  In triple overtime it was Detroit Pistons 186, Denver Nuggets 184, on Dec 13th, 1983.  I tease Jesse that he took the old adage 'let 'em just play ball' a little too far.  He is a great friend and super speaker should you ever need some great sports or life stories from an incredible guy.  Jesse can 'bring the wood' as they say in some churches.

Jesse would tell you, as I would that we do have a life 'rule book'.  The Bible.  It's the 'All Time - All Timer Best Seller ever!  It's an awesome marriage manual, parenting book, how to live life guide. The rules were followed to create laws in this country.  The Supreme Court has the Ten Commandments standing on it's building.   Many have tried to prove it wrong and failed.  Some have sought to prove it wrong and now are great preachers and teachers.

Now, there are many other great resources out there to help blended families, parents and marriages.  We own them and learn some things from them also.  Many can be found on our website.  But follow the SUCCESS and CHAMPION LIKE FAMILIES in our nation and you will see a solid foundation in faith and togetherness wins more often.   That scoreboard speaks for itself.

We talk about practical tips, parenting skills, real life examples, experiences and everyday stepfamily dynamics in our conferences, but this we know and stand upon.... GOD CAN take your stepfamily... from Broken to Blended to Bonded.  

We are available for speaking, conferences and resources at THE BONDED FAMILY.

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