We recently taped a show with the San Diego Chargers quarterback, Philip Rivers. He is a top rated quarterback in the NFL, having one of the highest passing ratings in the league. He grew up in Decatur Alabama and played at North Carolina State University. He married his high school sweetheart, and they are expecting their sixth child. We did not have time to sit down and do an interview for the “Power and Witness” blog, but I thought I could give a couple of reflections of the interview we did on “Life on the Rock”.
Philip gives a great witness to the importance of marriage and family life. He spoke to us about how he tries to spend time with his kids. Oftentimes, I find young parents can, understandably, get overwhelmed with parenting. They keenly feel their own imperfections and inadequacies in raising their children, and I think they sometimes lose confidence in the gift that they are to their children. Children want their parents’ attention and care. Despite all of our weakness and limitations, children want our time and attention. They thrive on it.
I thought Philip had some good points about chastity. In the talks that he gives, his main piece of advice is not to wait to try to practice chastity in the moment, but to practice good boundaries and not let yourself get into a situation that tempts you. Maybe, he learned this being an athlete and all the practice and preparations which this requires. We can’t expect that in the moment of temptation we can rely on some incredible act of the will to protect us from sin. God expects us to do our part in avoiding the near occasion of sin.
Another good point that he made was to have respect for the person you are dating. He shared from his own life that when he was in junior high he pointed out a girl he liked to his mother and said, “There’s a good person.” He eventually married her because he was attracted to her as a person. This is not to minimalize sexual attraction but simply to humanize it. The culture today exalts the intensity of sexual relationships, but that intensity, taken out of the context of marriage, overpowers the developing relationship. The relationship fails to grow in mutual knowledge and respect but degenerates into simply using one another.
Philip also spoke of the respect that he has for his wife in seeing her grow as a mother. I thought this was a powerful witness coming from a guy who is at the top of his game and has the attention of our culture for all his success. Moms and Dads are not the “rockstars” of our culture. But the family is the very place where one grows and matures on all levels. A spouse and children can challenge a person to really step up and care for others and not just be focused on oneself all the time. This kind of growth is what real sanctity is, where we learn to love others in different ways and look for ways to help one another.
Inspired by their love for children, Philip and his wife, Tiffany, have founded “Rivers of Hope”, an organization which helps foster children find permanent loving homes. Certainly a great work and, I would have to say, one that He spoke of very passionately on the show. Philip also took some time to toss the “pigskin” around with me, check out the videos below.