Family is a Team Sport

Today, we want to ask you are you managing a collection of individuals or building a team? One of the things that a lot of people don’t know about modern parenting is that it’s almost 100% designed to build up children as individuals. You won’t find a lot of tools out there that help parents, moms and dads, figure out how to turn their family, the individuals in their family into a team. Those tools just don’t hardly exist because that idea has sort of been lost from our culture. And so, Jeff and I have really been captured by this idea that the Bible talks about family primarily as a multi-generational team on mission. And so I just want to chat for a minute about what’s the difference between raising kids as individuals versus trying to develop a team?

Yeah. The easiest analogy I can probably, that helped me a lot is I played sports my whole life, baseball my whole life, 17 years all the way through college, and so the team stuff comes pretty natural. For most people, it comes natural to us too to understand, a coach, a team, a mission. You’re going towards somewhere, you have to practice, et cetera. But the comparison I like to use is the collection of individuals isn’t a team. That’s more like a club, and so I kind of talked about the difference between a club and a team. 

For me, I was raised in lower income housing, single mom, food stamps, et cetera. And so because of that socioeconomic status, clubs are actually almost what took care of me. I was in afterschool clubs because my mom had to work. I was in preschool clubs because my mom had to go… Like single parenting, clubs are almost your parent, your second parent, in a sense. So I was in all these afterschool clubs and things and activities when I was younger, and I remember, like I can’t even probably name one kid from any of those clubs. I probably can’t name the point of any of those clubs. Actually, I remember one of them was Knowledgeable. I remember, so it was like Jeopardy but for middle schoolers, and I loved that one. 

But the biggest thing there is though, a club is just more of a home or a house for, like you said, a collection of individuals, when a team is more about one entity, one organism. The best way I say it is, or I think to understand it, is a club is about shared interest, and then a team is about shared mission. Shared interest, like a book reading club, you all show up because you’re reading a book. But it’s just an interest, right? So once the interest goes away, there’s nothing that’s strong enough to bind that DNA together. 

But a team has a mission-oriented DNA that then creates a family because it’s more of a DNA. So it actually fuses you together to the point where I could name almost a hundred teammates of mine. I could name super special moments and years, et cetera, I think even though the actual amount of hours, in some sense on certain teams, were the exact same as the amount I was in a club. I think that’s a really interesting distinction. I think, to me it comes down between the difference of a family, like a lot of those teams felt like families, and then also we were on mission. We were chasing something higher collectively, when in a book reading club or an afterschool club, you don’t do any of that. 

Yeah. Every team has a really clear goal, right?


That’s why we love our kids to join teams. And there’s all kinds of different rules for teams. Nobody worries on a team if somebody is a quarterback and somebody else is the running back and somebody else’ is a wide receiver. You don’t say, “Well, that’s not equal. That’s not fair.” On a team, you want diversity, you want people to play different roles because what unifies them is the mission, like you were describing. It isn’t your individual interest. But the way that we raise kids today and because families lack mission, the only tools left that even make sense are tools that help build up our kids only as individuals. And so there’s a constant fight in the family for resources, a constant comparison about fairness because you’re not actually leading your kids to collectively try as a team to accomplish an amazing goal. 

And that culture, creating a family team culture is completely different, and there’s almost nothing more powerful than a family team. If you think about some of the most, the greatest things that are ever achieved in human history, a lot of them were by multi-generational teams that were working collectively together, for good or for ill. But it’s a powerful unit that we sort of have just lost sight of the fact that… It’s up to you, but would you want to raise your family as a team? That’s a question a lot of dads have never even asked. They think the only thing on offer is to raise their kids as a bunch of small individuals. 

Yeah. I’ll add one last thing that you just made me think of with the club analogy and picture again, is that because there’s not that shared mission and then it becomes a drain on resources. Then it becomes about everything being fair. And, again, that’s what a club was. I think back to afterschool clubs and it’s just all about, “Oh, Johnny got the 10 goldfishies. I want 10 goldfish.” Right? With a team, there’s a level at which you’re willing to willingly sacrifice because the thing you’re accomplishing gives you greater joy and depth and meaning. And so you’re like, “Oh, I’m okay if I don’t get this because I want to go somewhere bigger and greater with the team.” With a club, you’re not going anywhere. It’s more of like a circle that’s just all looking at each other, so then the thing just becomes resources and what’s fair. So it’s really interesting. 

Yeah. So really think about what kind of family do you want to create. And if you want to design your family to be a team, be aware that you’re going to have to sort of bring online a whole new set of tools, ones that are much more analogous to what happens on sports teams than what happens in clubs. That’s why a lot of these tools we’re going to be describing to you guys really fit more of that team paradigm than the individual paradigm because there’s not a lot of that out there.

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