Registration for the 2014-2015 Upward Basketball season is now open. Upward, for children in first through sixth grades, aims at developing the winner in EVERY child, not just a few. With this goal in mind, the league teaches the love of God while promoting character and self-esteem in all who participate. Register here by clicking on Upward Basketball. 

by Scott Ward, Immanuel attendee

So if there is one thing I know, it is this: I am not the best dad in the world.

There have just been too many days of bad parenting to count, days when my favorite time starts right after kids’ bedtime.

To be brutally honest, sometimes I am amazed my kids still love me at all.

But as I sit here with these gloomy thoughts on a gloomy night, I can also recognize there is good in our home. I do still laugh with and love on my kids, and I take pride when I see them learning and remembering what I have taught them. And I think a great many of those times happen directly because I am interested in what they are interested in. I forget about the endless list of adult things which consume me – job, electric bills, home repair, politics, education, email, Facebook – and I engage with them face to face.

One of the easiest, most consistent ways has been through Upward basketball.

The program is simple and well-laid out for me to act as their coach for 12 practices, eight games and one awards ceremony roughly three hours a week. But it is three hours that I can really relate to my little girls.  (Relating to little girls is not the gift of many men in their 30s). Even when the “game plan” for them means “who will bring the snack” I know they hear me, teaching, coaching, cheering. For them. We have a tangible, common goal which we work toward together. And each week I can point out the progress they have made. They can still get a taste of good parenting, in spite of all my imperfections.

So as I struggle with the daily grind, the daily challenge to put myself aside and my hopes in Jesus, I have a reminder of the joys that hope can bring: smiling faces, asking, “Hey dad, can we go play some basketball outside?”

“Sure, honey. I think my work can wait for me a bit longer this time. Let’s go have fun together.”

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