Fatherhood: How RGI Shaped RGII Who Shaped RGIII

My son, be attentive to my wisdom;
incline your ear to my understanding,
(Proverbs 5:1 ESV)

The most interesting aspect of the most interesting man in college football? That his name symbolizes two generations of healthy fatherhood.

Tom Friend’s upcoming ESPN the Magazine article reveals how Robert Griffin III has developed into a well-spoken, intelligent, leader because of the intentional parenting of his father, Robert Griffin II.  And Robert Griffin II developed into an intelligent, disciplined, leader because of the intentional parenting of his father, Robert Griffin I.

While I will not repost the whole article, I will highlight select passages that communicate the value of intentional fatherhood, especially in the life of a developing young man.

Teachable Moments:

One particular day, he rounded up his eight children, including Robert Jr., and marched them single file to that market and bought everything under the sun, including all their favorite cereals and sweets. On the way home, Griffin noticed a disheveled neighborhood family down on its luck. He handed the family his entire batch of groceries, including the sweets, which made Junior want to cry. “I’m 9 years old, and I’m hurt,” Griffin II says. “But then he said, ‘Come on, let’s go back to the store.’ So we go back and get even more than we got the first time.”

Griffin was always trying to fix the neighborhood, and by building houses he felt he was also building families. But the family he wanted to build most was his own.

Intention and Vision:

But Robert Jr. was careful, never domineering or loud. He simply had his son’s ear — and respect. “Too many times, people will stifle a kid’s growth by saying, ‘Well, I’m going to beat him,'” Griffin II says. “He watched me, and I’d play with him, but I never won. I was always on the brink of the last shot, and I would never make that shot. He’d go back and tell everyone, ‘My dad never beat me,’ and that was by design. But at some point, he started running faster than me, jumping higher than me and shooting better than me. He was winning legitimately.”

The family took that same tack with academics.

The Culmination of Two Generations Of Great Fatherhood:

It was the Robert Griffin I in him, but Robert Jr.’s work ethic was in him too. In Robby’s junior year, he was starting point guard, starting quarterback, a track standout and class president. His GPA was just south of 4.0. He didn’t have his driver’s license and never went to one postgame party. “No way,” says Robert Jr. “Alcohol this, alcohol that. We weren’t going to risk it. His coaches always knew he was home icing, stretching, getting prepared for the next day.”

On RGIII’s Plans For His Family:

The prevailing opinion is that if he can turn Baylor around, RG3 can do the same for Washington. All he asks is for the franchise to “grind it out” with him until he gets it right. In the meantime, he’s about to go to the bank, like RG1 did, and about to get married young like RG2. He and Rebecca want to eventually start a family, and they already have a name picked out for their son:

Robert Griffin IV.

The Griffin men are not your typical pro-athlete success story. They are not the Manning Family, with a football-insider leading the way for high-class athletes.  They are not the Jalen Rose/ Jimmy Walker Family, with a broken family life producing a hard-working, chippy world-class athlete.  It is a story of world-class parenting and intentionality in family life that produces a world-class person.

About Doug Hankins

Although not a Christian in his youth, Doug came to believe in Jesus during his teenage years. When not playing sports or pastoring Doug is probably spending time with his wife, reading a good book, or drinking some hot tea. Doug's first book Dawson Trotman: In His Own Words is available wherever books are sold. You can follow Doug on twitter.
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