Every baseball kid has a hero. Johnny Bench, Barry Larkin, Cal Ripken. Those were mine. Every kid needs someone to pattern his game after, someone’s posters on his walls, someone who he dreams of playing like one day.

Every baseball kid also needs to know that his heroes don’t care about him. Bench, Larkin, and Ripken all seem like great guys, but they don’t–nor should they–care about me. They’ve never met me, never spent any time with me, haven’t been there for me when I needed someone. Every kid needs to know that, as great as his baseball idols are, they will likely never be anything more than a poster on the wall.

That’s not to criticize players. In fact, we ask way too much of them when we expect them to do for our kids what parents should do.

Proverbs 22:22 is a great challenge for baseball guys–“Listen to your father who begot you, and do not despise your mother when she is old.”

Baseball heroes are never meant to replace parents in role and esteem.

This should challenge parents to remember that they are–and always will be–the greatest influence on the lives of their kids. So, live for Jesus, admit your mistakes, love your kids, lead them to follow Jesus.

This should also challenge children (no matter how old we are) to honor and respect our parents, to listen to the wisdom and experience God has given them, to treat them with dignity and love, regardless of how strong or weak the relationship may be.

God never commanded baseball heroes to parent our kids, nor did he command kids to honor and respect their baseball heroes. Let’s adjust accordingly.

Lord Jesus, show me how to honor and obey you in my role as parent or child. Amen.