Girls and Sports… A Biblical Design?
One of the questions I consistently receive as a parent is what sports do your kids participate in? That is an interesting question to me. I’m not against sports and in fact I was a kid that was carted all across the state of Iowa when I was in school. My parents sat countless hours in school gymnasiums waiting for me to spend 4 or 5 minutes every hour or so to battle for position on a wrestling mat. I wasn’t a half bad wrestler through high school but as I think back on it now I consider the tremendous amount of effort I put toward this pursuit. I don’t know if it was wasted effort because it shaped me in some ways that I wouldn’t be the man I am now and God had His Sovereign Hand over the whole thing, but I consider the things I could have worked for that would be far more beneficial to me now.
I don’t write to offend anyone so please consider what I say before you come to a conclusion. I also write as the father of four daughters. For me that is a different conversation than if I had four sons. I would want to raise sons to be men. Not juveniles, not adolescents, but men. God fearing men. Men that will stand in the gap and fight for the gospel. Lord willing. But I write as a father of girls. So I need to insist on a different standard.
I’m not raising girls to act like boys. I’m raising girls to become women. God fearing women. Not adolescent and or juvenile girls, but godly women that strive to serve the Lord and only One True King. That is not an easy task because they are sinners. And because they are sinners something needs to break the hard and stony hearts that control them. Three of the four are unbelievers and I’m thankful we can trust God to do rightly, but as for me, I must strive to teach them the principles of the Scriptures and the truth of God’s word.
“But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the LORD!” – Jonah 2:9
I suppose in most cases when asked the question in a drive-by fashion I respond, no they don’t do sports, their activities are music, art, and dance… I’m not afraid to confront the topic, but I need to have some time to develop the conversation. I want to develop the conversation so I’m not shooting from the hip and unnecessarily offending someone. If they be offended by the gospel, that is another topic, but I strive to give good answers. Solid and biblical answers.
Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. – Titus 2:3-5
The goal for a Christian man raising daughters should be this Scripture. I can be certain this will offend far more than a Christian man keeping his daughter out of sports and I think it’s important to see how the relationship between organized sports, especially as they achieve higher levels of success, and this Scripture mix like oil and vinegar.
In sports the goal is to win. Yeah, I realize some will protest and say it’s about things like “developing character”. I don’t buy it. I don’t believe sports develop character. Teaching the Scriptures develops character. Character that God desires. It won’t teach my daughters how to “win” but it will teach them how to love their husbands. It will teach them how to love their children. It will teach them how to be made wise for salvation. And at the end of the day does anything else matter?
“That the word of God may not be reviled.”
A Christian that is intent on God’s glory will seek the highest good for his family. He will seek God’s goals for his family and not his own. He will lay down his life for his family and that usually, and almost exclusively, means different priorities from the world.
I won’t develop the idea of what happens in young women that pursue sports to very high levels. I think we can look around and see the development of the competitive spirit among women is not what God would seek. Women were created different than men. Yes, that is still true. This is not a newsflash.
But Satan is always twisting things around. Many of today’s movies are going to highlight women as the hero. I’m not saying women are weak. I’m not saying women are not valuable. In fact I value the counsel of my wife above almost anyone else. She has a brilliant mind and can actually think circles around me in most cases. But she is not to be competing with me. She is to be complementing me. Completing me. Helping me. This is a big difference.
Sports do not help this. They teach independence and self sufficiency. They teach competitiveness and aggressiveness. At least if you want to be “competitive”.
Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. – 1 Peter 3:7
I’m to treat my wife different than a friend or a man. She’s not weak, but she’s weaker in many ways than I am. And I will confess she is much stronger than I am in many ways. But she is unique. She was made woman and that is an amazing thing and I desire my daughter’s to be as God intended them to be. Not to be trained up like men.
But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ – Mark 10:6
Don’t miss this distinction and also don’t miss that the world is corrupted by sin and by the evil one and he desire to destroy whatever he can. included the God given roles. He does it through deceit and misdirection. He is clever.
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden?’?” – Genesis 3:1
Satan twisted what God said. He distorted the truth and it plunged mankind into sin. If our greatest desire is to honor God in all things then we need to consider that His plan is better than ours. His ways are higher and we need to conform to the mind of God as revealed to us through Scripture. If your daughter plays soccer does this destroy any hope? Of course not, but consider the goal… I believe God has clearly given us examples to follow and I don’t find any real value in sports for my daughters.
And that is my reasoning. I hope you’ll think about yours.