By Tim Wildmon | AFA President
(Reprinted from AFA Journal, October, 1995)

When I was a kid my dad used to order season tickets to Mississippi State football games. They would arrive in the mail in the late summer and he would show them to me. I would look at them and hold them, counting down the days until we would load up the car and drive to Jackson or Starkville to watch the Bulldogs play. Those cool, crisp Saturday afternoons in October and November of yesteryear are fond memories.

Now, years later, Dad doesn’t go to games much anymore. He listens to them on the radio or watches them on television, but I still go. Now I take my oldest son, Wesley, who is six. I have taken Wesley from time to time the last couple of years, but he has never really had any interest in the games (basketball or football). I had a tough time figuring this out. I just thought it was genetic or something that my son would enjoy sporting events the way I did. But it has been hard to get him to go with me, and he hasn’t shared my enthusiasm for the games. Usually he asks a few minutes into the game when we’re going home. (I attribute some of this to his youth, and he may well be burned out given the fact that he attended his first college football game when he was not quite five months old.)

Well, I talked him into going to the first game of the season. Just Wesley and me. We got to the stadium and the pregame festivities were enough to hold his attention. This is great, I thought, Wesley is finally starting to enjoy coming with me. Then sure enough, after about a quarter he asked when we were going home. I answered him once or twice with the standard "It will be over in a while, do you want a Coke" line.

But after a couple of delay-tactic answers, something new came to my mind. A profound thought it was. I thought to myself that Wesley doesn’t understand what’s going on down there on the field. All he sees is a bunch of people in uniforms running wildly around on a painted field with a ball, hitting each other, stopping occasionally to separate because some guys dressed like zebras run around blowing whistles and waving their arms. And as for the people in the stands, including my dad, they make loud noises, clap their hands and yell things at the people on the field who can’t hear a word they are saying because everyone is trying to talk – or yell – at once. That’s football through Wesley’s eyes. If I were Wesley, I would want to know when we were going home, too. In the words of Ricky Ricardo, I needed to do a little "splainin’" to Wesley.

"Do you know what’s going on out there, Wesley?"

He shook his head no.

"Let me tell you," I said. "You see the Bulldogs in maroon and you see the Tigers in blue, well. …"

I took about 10 minutes and explained in as simple terms as possible (which is not hard for me) the object of the game, the meaning and purpose for the actions. I pointed out the scoreboard, the clock and how to score points. I taught him as the action went along. He didn’t grasp everything, by any means, but he did begin to watch the action and ask questions of me. He was now somewhat interested in the game. He didn’t ask again when we were going home.

Understanding is the first key to making a difference. I would add two more – wisdom and involvement.

The Holy Scriptures say a lot about understanding and wisdom. About insight and knowledge. In I Chronicles 12:32 we find the story of the different groups of men who were to fight with David against the Philistines and the different strengths each group possessed. One group were called the "men of Issachar" who had "understanding of the times to know what Israel ought to do. …"

If we are Christians we need to ask God to open our eyes so that we may know what to do in America to defend our families and Christian principles against the popular culture. We must be on the field, not on the sidelines.

If we ask God for understanding, He will give it to us. The Bible says there is a great spiritual war going on between the forces of good (God) and evil (Satan). If we believe this, then what are we doing for our side? Are we praying for America and our leaders? Are we voting for candidates of character and conviction? Are we supporting through prayer and – when possible – financial support groups like AFA and others standing up for moral values? Are we writing letters or making phone calls on a moral issue? How about volunteering at the local crisis pregnancy center?

None of us can do it all. But let me encourage you to pray and do what you can to make our country a better place to live and raise a family. And pray daily for understanding and wisdom. You’ll find out, as Wesley did, that things will be a whole lot more interesting and meaningful.

And, oh yes, State won the game.