Over the last eight years I’ve been discovering what it means to be a dad. I never had a dad growing up, so I really wasn’t sure how to do this. But one thing I knew is that I wanted to be present in my kids’ lives.
You see toxic parent-child relationships all the time, especially on the sports field. Some parents are riding their kids nonstop about how to be better or faster. Other parents aren’t involved at all because they just aren’t interested. For me and my wife, it’s been really cool for us to be able to pave the way for our family, and model what it looks like to love our kids and be all-in for them. We don’t dictate what they do, but we encourage them to pursue their passions.
We’re still learning how best to do this. I’m a huge believer in playing team sports. So while my son loves playing football and basketball, my daughters have always loved dance and gymnastics. This year, we want them to try volleyball and soccer. I know that for me, I learned so much from team sports, including how to be a good teammate, how to respect my coaches, and how to work together for a common goal.
Because I didn’t have a dad in my life, the sports arena is where I learned many life lessons. The field is where I learned how to react when a coach disciplined me or got on my back. It’s also where I learned to take constructive criticism or encouragement, especially from a male figure. Sports is where I learned that I wasn’t allowed to take shortcuts. I’m fortunate to have had so many great coaches and men who acted like father figures to me.
One of my favorite things is when my son, nearly every morning, runs into my room and asks me, “What game is on tonight?” Sports are a huge way for me to bond with my son and share common interests. But I never want to pressure him or push him too hard.
Children are a passion for my wife and me, and not just our own kids. We are invested in helping other children, specifically trafficked or underprivileged children. This year, the Super Bowl is in Tampa. It is already the No. 1 city in America for trafficking, and then you add the Super Bowl event to it. We are excited to work with International Justice Mission and partner with other organizations to fight against trafficking, especially since this is on our home turf (I grew up an hour away in Venice, Fla.).
We also have been working with two local schools in Tampa, both in pretty rough areas, who help underprivileged children get a good education, safe after-school activities, and food in their bellies.
We are constantly asking ourselves, “How can we help? What does that look like for us?” Each season and each year that answer changes, but we always want to be obedient to wherever it is God is calling us to serve. This year is no different.
— Trey Burton, Indianapolis Colts tight end
Trey Burton is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing articles and opinions. Check out Trey’s Increase profile here.
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