The good father: so you don't like LaVar Ball?

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Have at it. Everyone's put off by him so go ahead and join the haters. Loud? Proud? Profane?


About to set Nike and Under Armour back a few billion?


About to give Magic a run for his money, courtside?

After Tuesday, it's done.

The executives of legacy sport brands are howling about LaVar being the worst thing to happen to sports since Tonya Harding smeared peanut butter in Lance Armstrong's helmet.

Actually, she didn't.

When USC complained about LaVar branding his sons while his oldest son Alonzo was playing ball for UCLA, LaVar faced down UCLA and the NCAA—and more power to him, I say. The execs of the NCAA up in Indy know very well what this means. Finally, they're going to have to pay their "student athletes" a few thousand of the hundreds of millions they and their Ph.D.s have been raking in from...

college sports for many decades, now.

But I'm off-subject: this is a post to encourage Christian fathers.

Read this profile of LaVar Ball and tell me whether or not his faith as a father is a faith Christian fathers can learn from and should try to copy?

I'm sure of it.

His faith was formed and firm before LaVar ever caught a glimpse of his wife walking down the hall at Cal State Los Angeles:

This isn't some act he started performing a year ago when the lights came on and Lonzo broke through as one of the best college basketball players in the country. This has been his vision all along.

He's planned this since he first saw his wife, Tina, walking down the halls at Cal State Los Angeles. She was a college basketball player too, but more important, she was tall enough to give him tall children. That was a must. And she was tough. He could tell by the way she walked in her heels.

"How many tall girls wear heels?" he asks. "I liked that."

So he looked her up and down with his pale green eyes, smiled and said, "You and me, we're gonna do something. You just don't know it yet."

Sure, no Christian father has the same vision and goals Lavar had. Followers of Jesus don't pick a wife because she has traits that will assure her daughters can kick a** in an MMA cage or practicing law in a courtroom. We know it wouldn't honor God for our sons to play in the NBA or get a degree from Oxford. We may have cast a wistful eye at these baubles, but it was to our shame and our kids shook us back to reality: "Dad," said my dear Michal when I was trying to get her to postpone marriage so she could use her brain and scholarships to show the world her father wasn't stupid, "we just want to do what you taught us!" So she left her scholarships, married Ben, and now she's the screwy-hippy-chick-bordering-on-funky mother of four doing her best to raise a godly seed. And no, her best isn't that good, but by God's grace she's married to Ben and he's one of the best fathers I've ever known. You can read about Michal's insecurities, fears, and faith here, if you like.

So what goals do you have for your brood—that's the question you should ask after reading this profile of LaVar Ball. 

When will your son be potty-trained? When will your daughter start walking? When will your son have Isaiah 53 memorized? Then Psalm 103, John 15, and the book of James?

How will you keep your mother-in-law from obstructing the discipline of your sons and daughters? How will you keep your wife from obstructing your tough love of your sons? How will you teach your sons to love manual labor? Your daughters to love babies and changing diapers?

How will you train your sons and daughters to be independent thinkers? To go against the grain of this wicked world they live in? To argue in defense of their Lord and our Most Holy Faith?

How will you prepare them to be admonished and disciplined by their elders, and to love their elders for it?

Listen, learn from LaVar Ball. He has a lot to teach us. I'd rather have him and his sons being formed by the preaching of our church than the vast majority of Evangelical fathers I've known. And certainly more than ninety percent of the homeschooling mothers I've known who turn out soft sons and hard daughters.

LaVar Bell didn't allow his sons to become softies and his wife, Tina, didn't oppose him. The church needs more fathers like LaVar and mothers like Tina.

And if there's no man in the home; or the man you have has no sense of our times, no love for the church, and no plan for his sons, it falls to the grandmother and mother to do this work. And by God's grace, they have Lois and Eunice to copy:

For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well. For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God... (2 Timothy 1:5-8)

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and big lots of grandchildren.

Want to get in touch? Send Tim an email!