This letter (condensed) is from a man that heard Brad speak at a breakfast in Dallas. It is long, but very good.
I had the opportunity to hear Colt McCoy’s Dad speak this Tuesday morning to the Dallas Christian Leadership Prayer Breakfast. The breakfast is an annual breakfast that was started by Tom Landry and other Dallas leaders over 40 years ago and the speakers are usually amazing. Brad McCoy delivered a message on raising Colt and his two other boys that was truly amazing! The cliff notes are below.
I took copious notes because he prefaced his speech by stating, “I am going to talk about the four principles with which we raised our three boys.” They are incredibly applicable to us as parents (regardless of the sex of our children) and they made a significant mark on my heart. Brad McCoy said that he and his wife raised their children according to the following four principles:
1. “Prepare your child for the path, not the path for your child.” Brad said this is not just for our kids – it is for us as parents. The road is rough, narrow and hard to find. We have a book (the Bible), a map vis-à-vis the Bible and God to help us. We must prepare ourselves and our kids for moments in life when doors open and close. He cited Proverbs 22:6: “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” He also cited, almost in jest but also in reality, Proverbs 23:13, “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die.” It was a funny contrast, but a real contrast. He then said, “Dads, fight for your kids, prepare them!”
2. “Prepare to be our best.” This was one of the four McCoy family motto's. He cited 1 Corinthians 9:24, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” He stated that every day he would take his kids to school and upon them exited the car, he would say to them, “Do your best and be a leader!” He said that they listened every time and even as they got older (4th, 5th and 6th grades) he would repeat these words even if they said, “ Yeah, Yeah, Dad, I know, do your best and be a leader!” He said that as a coach for 27 years, he would always lead his team onto the field and leave his team at every practice with the chant, “Expect to Win, Play to Win.” And he implored us as parents to instill the same attitude in our homes and in our children. He cited Jim Collins book, Good to Great, stating that good is the enemy of Great! We don’t aim high and miss – as we would like to believe. In fact, most times, we aim low and hit the mark! As parents, he implored us not to aim low! Aim high!!!
3. “Be a Leader”. He stated that we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses – great leaders that we can draw from and that our kids can draw from. He said we are all at the mercy of time and money and asked a rhetorical question: How do you spend your time and money. He then said that how we spend our time and money is a direct reflection on where our true priorities lie. Convicting! He then said as a leader that he has always loved the quote by Ghandi (even though he didn't ascribe to all of Ghandi’s beliefs): “I will not let anyone walk through my mind with dirty feet.” He said that as he taught this principle to his three boys that Colt McCoy turned this phrase into his own words: “Thoughts become things.” Colt would tell his younger brothers as he mentored them, “ You can’t talk like that or think like that, because thoughts become things that play themselves out in your life.”
4. “Prepare for Open and Closed Doors.” As a Dad, he said it was painful beyond all of his years on this earth to watch his son get hurt in the first series of play in the National Championship at the Rose Bowl. A perfect setting. A setting his son had dreamed of ever since he threw the football with his Dad in the front yard as a kid. As a Dad, he went over to his son’s hotel room after the Championship loss and the demoralizing fate for such a NCAA football star. He went to his son’s room to cheer his son up and was praying to God for the right words. He entered his son’s room to find what Colt had written that morning before the game. A journal page that read as follows: “My positive energy must be better than my negative energy. My certainty must be me stronger than my doubt. The battle is won before I ever start the fight. I choose faith over fear. Leave a legacy of excellence, love, dedication and service. Jeremiah stated, ‘Blessed is the man who’s trust is in the Lord.’” He said as a Dad, he had to find a corner of Colt’s hotel room to sit down and cry over the maturity of his son. His son was prepared for open and closed doors! Wow.
He then finished his speech by stating that as he consoled his son under the Rose Bowl stadium, after it was readily apparent that Colt would not be able to go back onto the field and play for the Longhorns. And as he was trying to motivate his son, his son motivated the team and his Dad. His son stepped into a new mantle of leadership. Rather than return to the field in pedestrian clothes, Colt insisted on returning to the field to help his team win. He walked back onto the field in his uniform and helped the second string quarterback read the defense and mentored the second string quarterback over the course of the 3rd and 4th quarters. He said that his son had been studying “trust” in a Bible Study all year long leading up to the National Championship game. He said his son had told his mom and dad that he didn’t know why he had been studying that “trust” concept all year, but he fully knew why in the moments leading up to the National Championship loss. He told his parents that he came to the conclusion that God had “prepared me for years leading up to that game, because He wanted me to “trust” Him!” As his son, Colt, was approached by news reporters after the Longhorns had lost the National Championship, the reporters asked Colt how he was feeling and Colt replied: “I always give God the glory. I never question what God does. God is in control of my life and if nothing else, I am standing on the Rock!”
Brad McCoy said that his cell phone began lighting up with texts after the game with friends, ministers and family members wildly acclaiming the statement that Colt had made to the reporters. He said that he received letters from non-believers, Jewish ministers, Muslim ministers and atheists in the days following the game – all pointing to the AMAZING statement that Colt had made after the game. He said that as he entered Colt’s hotel room that night, he asked his son, “What did you say after game?” [He had not been able to hear it in the mayhem of the stadium.] Brad McCoy, Colt’s Dad, asked two to three times, “Son, what did you say after the game?” Colt said, “Dad, I don’t know. I really don’t remember what I said. All I remember is that the reporter asked me a question and I prayed that God would supply me with the right answer.” Wow.
Brad McCoy then ended his speech by telling a story about a young football player that he was coaching back in his hometown. He said the young football player approached Brad McCoy after he returned from Pasadena and said, “Coach, I heard what your son said after the game, but I have one question: What is the rock?” He said it’s funny son. We sing about it in church.
He then began singing accapella: “My hope is built on nothing less, Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name. On Christ the solid Rock I stand, All other ground is sinking sand; All other ground is sinking sand. When darkness seems to hide His face, I rest on His unchanging grace. In every high and stormy gale, My anchor holds within the veil. On Christ the solid Rock I stand, All other ground is sinking sand; All other ground is sinking sand. His oath, His covenant, His blood, Support me in the whelming flood. When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my Hope and Stay. On Christ the solid Rock I stand, All other ground is sinking sand; All other ground is sinking sand. When He shall come with trumpet sound, Oh may I then in Him be found. Dressed in His righteousness alone, Faultless to stand before the throne. On Christ the solid Rock I stand, All other ground is sinking sand; All other ground is sinking sand.”
By the end of his singing, the entire room of men and women were singing in unison with Brad McCoy. It was truly an amazing morning for the Lord and a truly amazing speech for us to learn from as parents.