Run the Next Play with Your Kids

The Championship Fathering blog by Carey Casey

Many of you know that I played football in college, and I’m still a big fan. So allow me to share an analogy from the gridiron that I think will serve dads well: Run the next play.

One thing I learned very clearly is that some plays work and some don’t. One play you’re celebrating and high-fiving your teammates, and you think nothing can stop you. The next play you get up off the turf and you’re checking to see if you have all your teeth. Sometimes it’s like, What were we thinking on THAT one?

In either case, good or bad, you go back to the huddle, set your strategy, maybe say some encouraging words, and then run the next play. Then you do it again … and again … and again.

Run the Next Play with Your Kids

You may win. You might not. Either way, you strategize, watch game film, and put in a few days of good hard practice. But at some point you suit up for the next game.

Now, this may seem obvious, but what’s the point for fathers?

Well, whether you just had a great bonding time with your child or you dropped the ball, so to speak, you can’t dwell on that. You can learn from it, but you can’t get discouraged and let it shut you down. You have to move on to the next play and try to succeed next time with your child.

Thinking about the past can be good. We can learn a lot and be motivated for the future. But when we come home or when we have that next slot of time with our kids, we have to be in the moment. Tweet this! Those opportunities with our children and possibly grandkids are precious.

This is also worth saying: a play that worked last year may not work this season. So keep updating your playbook. And be creative. If you can’t run right up the middle, try an end around, or a double reverse. You get the idea?

Imagine I’m your fathering coach today with a few words of encouragement. You have everything you need to win with your kids. You have the goods! Tweet this! No, you’re not perfect. But if something goes wrong or you have a bad day, you can come back for the next play, the next game, and the next season.

(This is where I grab your facemask and look you right in the eyes.) Now get in there, dad, and do your best.

Action Points

  • Through whatever challenges you’re facing today, stay devoted to your kids. Tweet this! Think about the good you’re doing them instead of how it feels day-to-day on your end.
  • If you need some ideas for plays that are likely to work with your family, just check out the great materials in our Resource Center.

What has worked for you? How do you stay motivated despite occasional setbacks? Please leave a comment either below or at our Facebook page.


Carey CaseyCarey Casey is the CEO of the National Center for Fathering (NCF), as well as a husband, father, and grandfather. He is author of Championship Fathering, co-author of It’s Great Being a Dad, and general editor of The 21-Day Dad’s Challenge. See more about Carey here.

NCF is a nonprofit organization seeking to improve the lives of children and establish a positive fathering and family legacy that will impact future generations by inspiring and equipping fathers and father figures to be actively engaged in the life of every child. You can sign up for NCF’s Today’s Father Weekly email here.



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