Nelson Cook of Coaches of Influence in Los Angeles California in his news sheet to Christian coaches in high school, college and professional levels quoted highly respected coach Amos Alonzo Stagg that "love is more important than equality".
Stagg emphasised the role of love - noted Nelson Cook, and - the importance of doing what is best for each player - rather than treating everyone the same.
Quoting Coach Stagg, "You may feel, at times, that I have double standards, as I certainly will not treat you all the same. I think treating everyone the same shows partiality.
"However, I will attempt to give each player the treatment that he earns and deserves according to my judgement and in keeping with what I consider to be in the best interest of the team."
Parents and Christmas
Parents have for ever tried to share out their Christmas presents to each child so that each one in the family receives something in much the same measure.
The application from Coach Amos Stagg in his sporting context is to love your children and do what's best for them and this is "true love."
Nelson Cook noted that Coach Stagg stated each year - before the first practice - tell his athletes – a Christmas family transliteration - I will love you all the same, and this reflects what each child needs within the family.
I think treating everyone the same shows partiality
Treating everyone the same shows partiality, claimed Coach Stagg. Shortly before Coach Stagg's death in 1965, some kids were playing football on his front lawn. A neighbour noticed and informed him that the grass would never grow with all this sports activity. Coach Stagg smiled and replied, "I'm not trying to grow grass, I'm trying to grow kids."
Nelson Cook cited Joe Ehrmann (a one time football coach at Gilman High School) who calls his kids together before each practice exclaiming - "What's our (the coaching staff) job?" The kids yell back, "to love us." Then he yells, "What's your job?" They all respond loudly, "To love one another."
"Funny, that sounds a bit like what Jesus would say. In your passion for coaching the game, don't lose the priority of God in your life. But now abide Faith, Hope and Love, these three; but the greatest of these is Love. (I Corinthians chapter 13 verse 13).
This is likewise reflective for family life, especially at Christmas when everyone can get on each other's nerves.
Couldn't get the phrase out of his mind
Nelson Cook said he couldn't get out of his mind the phrase ... "I think treating everyone the same shows partiality."
No parent can ever treat each of their children equally, as each child will need special attention at specific times, and this especially applies at Christmas.
Nelson Cook pondered on the Scriptures. Time and time again God treats members of His family differently depending on the circumstances. Joseph came through what we might refer to day as the "school of hard knocks". But Nehemiah was part of the network within the Palace and able to procure documents to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
In the New Testament we see Jesus' parable of the talents where financial capability was different, and in the book of Acts where prison guards coming to faith who feared for their own lives, and on the other hand members of Ceasar's own household came to faith.
This Christmas, Christian parents will again determine the nature of what gifts for which child, and a happy recognition with a Biblical peace of mind, that treating them all the same (and so very difficult), in itself shows a measure of partiality.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html