Major League Dad Brings Encouragement to Plate

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What happens when you create a home of encouragement for your child?

Few cities are tougher on their pro athletes than Philadelphia. The Phillies’ latest legend-turned-punching-bag is two-time Cy Young winner Roy Halladay, who helped lead the Phillies to the NL East Championship in 2010. Yet Roy started this season by struggling mightily, so he, too, was hearing about it from the Phillies boo-birds, with jeers like, “Stick a fork in him!”

But his biggest fan remained by his side. After another bad start in April, Braden sent Roy a text message that read, "You're my hero." Turns out that Braden is not only a die-hard fan, he’s the oldest of Roy's two sons.

"That means a lot," Halladay told Philly.com. "Those kinds of things mean a lot. Those are the kind of things that do help you relax, (and) put things in perspective."

Creating a home of encouragement

I’ll never forget the first time someone asked my son Parker what we wanted to be when he grew up. Parker, who was then about six, proudly declared, “I want to be an office worker, just like my dad.”

Ignoring the fact that he boiled down my far-more-interesting job to being “an office worker,” I was beaming inside. My boy encouraged me on my journey as a dad by wanting to be like me in the best sense.

My wife and I strive to create an environment of encouragement in our home. Some evenings, we’ll create what we call a “circle of encouragement.” We take turns around the dinner table lifting each other up by sharing gifts and talents we see in one another – as well as specific things we appreciate about each other.

My wife recently added a new wrinkle to the process by designating a special plate as the Blessing Plate. In the spirit of 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up …”), whoever receives the plate that night also receives words of encouragement from each one of us.

As dads, we should be encouragers of our kids. What I’m learning is that, when you create an environment of encouragement at home, it not only lifts your kids up, but you get refueled with some encouragement, too.

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