It’s only halftime?

In case you are unaware, I am a football fanatic. I watch college football for HOURS every weekend.  It begins with the Thursday night game and doesn’t end until I’ve checked the new rankings on Sunday mornings.  We are Auburn fans at Chez Underwood … huge Auburn fans.  And my daughter is slowly learning to enjoy the game, or maybe it’s just that she enjoys watching her momma jump around like a crazy woman, I’m not going to ask.  Sometimes though, when the games have been on all day she’ll come in and ask if it’s over yet.  I’ll say, “Nope, it’s only halftime.”  And her response is, “It’s ONLY halftime?”

You see, she isn’t a fanatic and to her all the games run together … so it’s almost all one game – except the Auburn game.

Sometimes, as a mom, when I am weary from the emotional battles of an early-stages-of-hormones tween, I find myself thinking, “It’s ONLY halftime?”  But sometimes, as a mom, I look at her and I see only where I have failed and I begin to allow the enemy to heap guilt onto my spirit about what I should have done and could have done.  I forget, “It’s only halftime!”

Jackie Kendall, in her AMAZING book that every. single. mother. should read, The Mentoring Mom, says:

“Mom, resist the urge to take score at halftime.  The game is not over yet.  Too many moms panic when they see a less-than-desirable quality in their child.  Often this is a tutorial from the Holy One not only for the child, but also for the mom.” (183)

Thus we learn the final principle of Polite Parenting

Principle 4:  Parenting isn’t a short-term effort, it’s a life-long event.

Measuring our success and failure as mothers when our children are young is a dangerous habit!  I am an example of “failed parenting” at age 16 and even at 23 … but today people consistently make the statement, “Your parents raised you well.” Based on my life at nearly 40, at who I am become as an adult, suddenly my parents’ inexperience and uncertainties, their mistakes and missteps, seem of far less consequence than their steadfast love, their ongoing encouragement, and their faithful prayers.

Fathers (mothers), do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.  Ephesians 6:4 NIV (emphasis added)

For those who, like me, long ago memorized this verse in the King James, you will recall the words “nurture and admonition” of the Lord.  I love this verse!  What freedom it brings.  It doesn’t say, “Bring them up in the parenting style taught in your church” nor does it say, “Don’t bring them up in public school” nor does it say, “Bring them up well or you have failed.”  Nope … it simply says (my paraphrase), “Raise them to know the Lord and teach them to love Him and His Word.”

Quick Greek lesson, okay?

Training: paideia, the instruction of children, also carries the implication of chastening or discipline, because effective instruction also includes discipline and correction.

Instruction: nouthesia, an admonition, warning, exhortation; any word of encouragement or reproof that leads to correct behavior, appeal to the conscience, will, and reason.

So, in practical terms, we need to remember that our parenting should be two things:

  1. Grounded in the Word of God
  2. Balanced between discipline/correction and encouragement.

And let’s face it … rarely is there a day when that all happens smoothly … but over the course of our children’s lives we have the privilege of guiding, chastening (I love that word!), instructing … and of warning (sometimes from our own mistakes and fallings), exhorting, and encouraging.

Mommas, don’t take score at halftime!  Allow God’s power to work through your efforts as you daily, moment-by-moment, entrust your child to the Lord’s hands.

How you do find yourself taking score at halftime?

Previous Polite Parenting Posts: (nice alliteration, huh?)

{FYI, the link to The Mentoring Mom is an affiliate link through Amazon.  Should you choose to purchase this amazing book – which you can for $10.19 and it is worth so much more – I would receive a small commission.}

Read the Psalms this summer with Scripture Dig!


  1. Between college football and The Mentoring Mom, we are two peas in a pod. Our oldest (and only son) plays football and during half-time we often encourage him to 'keep on, keepin' on!". How many of our favorite teams show up best in the second half? Make Deut 6:5 your life cheer and persevere!

    Thank you for this important reminder TeriLynne. I need it as a mother and as a Boys of Fall fan!

  2. I am so sad that this is the final Polite Parenting post…it has been such a great series! But then, I can't wait to see what you will write about next!

  3. Teri, this post is wonderful! I found it through your link-up at Gather Inspirit. Obviously God is trying to tell me something because my post has a similar theme! I love the football analogy, and I am so very guilty! I have three children, and my oldest is four. How many days have I decided that I have failed as a parent, and none of them is elementary school-aged yet!
    Thank you, again! I really enjoyed this message.

  4. Taking score at half time…I like that. I've been thinking something similar lately. I feel like God reminded me that what *I* see in my kids is not what HE sees in my kids. I only see dimly; He sees clearly. Who *I* think they are today is not who they will become. This is also helpful when kids start bringing home that guy/girl and the immediate reaction is "NO…that's not who my child needs for a mate. They are all wrong." But, then we must remind ourselves that the person they are today is not who they will become. Great reminder, Teri Lynne.

  5. This is so encouraging to me as a mom of little ones. Like Jennifer commented, I sometimes put too much pressure on what I do or don't do that may ruin my kids for life. So thankful this series has been such a good balance of encouragement and teaching!

  6. As I sit at halftime thinking about the 2nd half of the game I can go 1 of two ways. I know the hard…HARD years are ahead of me and I can reach for my paper bag to breath into b/c I'm fearful/panicky about what the score might be or how hard I'm gonna have to fight for a win. OR I can get on my knees and place those fears at the feet of Jesus. Honestly Teri Lynne, it's sometimes a minute by minute choice for me, especially lately, but He hung the moon. He knit those kids together perfectly…He will finish what He started!

    Fantastic Series… Looking forward to what's next. Big hugs!

  7. Thanks for sharing this…We use the word honor. My kids honor me and I honor them. Thanks for posting this on Gather Inspirit. I am blessed by your blog.

  8. So so true. I've been there repeatedly. Second guessing myself and terrified that I'm not doing the parenting thing the right way. Now that my oldest is in college, I've had a monumental breakthrough: She's a great person! She really is! Apparently God has filled in the gaps where her parents messed things up. Praise God!

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