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Pro Football and Parental Rights: An Interview with NFL MVP Shaun Alexander

November 21–25, 2016   |   Vol. 129, Week 1

Ever since he retired from pro football, Shaun Alexander has been focusing on the thing he is most passionate about: families. On this week’s Homeschool Heartbeat, hear how the homeschool dad and former NFL MVP is encouraging and helping families be the best they can be.

“[We’re] sending out the message that parents, you can raise great children, and . . . you have a right to raise them up in the way that you think is best. We believe in you.”—Shaun Alexander

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What do professional football and homeschooling have in common? Shaun Alexander loves them both! Today on Homeschool Heartbeat, hear how the former NFL MVP is teaming up with ParentalRights.org to defend your freedom to raise your kids right.

Mike Farris: I’m joined today by my really good friend, Shaun Alexander. Shaun is a former MVP of the NFL, and he was playing for the greatest team ever, the Seattle Seahawks. He’s a homeschooling dad of eight, and the new Vice-President of ParentalRights.org. Shaun, welcome to the program.

Shaun Alexander: Thank you, Mike. And you are correct, [the] Seahawks are the best in the world, so I like where this is going already.

Mike: We’ll get that settled. All those other people, you know, have their problems (especially those from Dallas).

What’s truly important [0:50]

Mike:Shaun, why did you and your wife decide to homeschool, and what’s that journey been like for your family?

Shaun: You know, the first thing that we liked about homeschooling was that we could travel. We weren’t sure whether we wanted to live in the D.C. area, whether we wanted to live in Seattle, or go back to Kentucky or Alabama. And my wife, she just said, “You know, I’ve got this unction that we should try homeschooling.” We didn’t know anything about it, but we just jumped in and did it. And we found out that we actually have the opportunity to do one of the greatest honors that anybody could ever have, and that’s really training your child up. And that’s why we homeschool—it’s about training our children up in what’s the most important things: their faith, their true identity, work ethic, the boundaries of life, and what real success looks like.

Mike: Well, Shaun, I know that you don’t just talk those things. I’ve been at your home many times and this is an inspiring story that you’re living every day.

The greatest moments [1:35]

Mike: Shaun, I’d like to talk a little about your career in the NFL. What did that look like for you, both personally and for your family?

Shaun: You know, of course, I was in the NFL for the first two years where I’d just met my wife, and they were very exciting. But the challenge, then, on the field was taking a team that had not known how to win as an organization to winning all the time. So that was the great challenge of shifting your identity and what it’s supposed to look like.

And then, once I did get married, it was learning how to balance out how to be a father and a husband to bring glory to God, and to bring the spirit of excellence in everything that I’m doing. It was a great challenge, but well accepted. Once you start learning how to do the simple things right, creating some good standards of living, it becomes a lot easier. It was a fun growing time that I’m really thankful for.

Mike: Shaun, what’s one of your most memorable experiences from your time playing football in the NFL?

Shaun: In the NFL, you know, there were some great moments. The first big game I had was my second year, play[ing against] the Oakland Raiders. They had the number one defense; [I got] 266 yards and three touchdowns.

The birth of my oldest child, Heaven. She was born September 21, 2003. I was at the hospital when she was born, staying there, watching the first quarter go by, finally getting in the police escort to go to the stadium, then watching the crowd explode as I came out. And we came back and beat the Rams for the first time. It really turned on the faith in our organization, it really turned from that point on.

But I think the greatest is winning the NFC Championship in Seattle, you know, taking our team to the Super Bowl. That great game, and the excitement and passion of the fans, to know that they are finally of the elite: they’re playing in Super Bowl. To know that our team, when I retired, goes on and plays in three Super Bowls in the next 10 years. It was a great honor to know that I helped start that.

Mike: And we will not talk about the referees in the Pittsburgh Steelers game, we’ll just avoid that discussion. It’s not a sore point for me still all these years later, not hardly . . . Well, a little bit.

“Finish the Game” [3:36]

Mike: Shaun, since you retired from football in 2008, you’ve focused your energy first on your own family and helping families in general. A major part of that has been encouraging fathers to be present in their children’s lives. Tell us about that and those efforts.

Shaun: It was a great honor to have so many fellow teammates that became fathers, and so many friends that were with me in college, to watch them grow and have them talk about the things I taught them, and then with the influence of some other individuals—Rodger Goodell from the NFL, the likes of you and some of the things that you’re doing, some family members—they all challenged me in different ways to help promote fatherhood. I was on the White House Faith Fatherhood Initiative, and then the National Center for Fathering with Carey Casey, and I started a podcast called “Finish the Game,” which is a podcast that I wanted to help teach everyone how to be an MVP at the game of life, and finish that game. And it’s been a lot of fun talking topics, but knowing that the goal is to get men to stand up and be fathers, and to get families to stay unified, and knowing that if we could all just plug in together with truth that we could actually become generals of a great army that could impact lots of lives and lots of families forever.

We trust parents [4:54]

Mike: Shaun, you recently became the Vice-President of ParentalRights.org. Why did you decide to join PRO, and why do we need a parental rights amendment?

Shaun: When you actually look at it, the way our country is designed, we’ve never had a true amendment for the rights of parents. We’ve always just believed that parents will do what it takes to raise their kids. And because society, because of broken marriages, they’ve created some laws that’ve actually had schools, sometimes public schools, have had other educational people, sometimes police forces, get involved with parenting the child, and they call it “co-parenting.” In some cases it’s needed, but clear across the board, it should not be a law.

So I wanted to partner up and have a strong voice in the community and in our country about the world trusting parents, trusting healthy parents, to make the decision of how they’re going to raise their children. And so this is what Parental Rights does. They encourage, and they give information and truth about the rights of parents to raise their children, because at the end of the day we trust the parents with how to raise the child. I think that every parent is going to do what they need to do, and at the same time, sometimes that could be getting information, but sometimes it could be learning the rights and wrongs. And that’s what Parental Rights does, and I’m so honored to be their Vice-President.

We believe in you [6:15]

Mike: Shaun, what are some of your plans for getting the word out about the Parental Rights amendment?

Shaun: The Parental Rights amendment needs to be talked about, and I think there’s been several avenues.

I’ve been doing some videos on college campuses about how some of those college students got there: some homeschooled, some private schooled, some public schooled, how they got to college, what stirred kids to become successful. So I’ve been doing some interviews with Parental Rights with that.

I’ve also still got my podcast radio show, “Finish the Game.” And everybody get on over to ShaunAlexander.com and hit “Podcast,” and we’ll talk about how to be an MVP at the game of life.

And then the other ways are just mail-outs, setting up events—we’ve got some wonderful events that we’re in the process of setting up, hopefully in some of the NFL cities: Detroit, Atlanta, Seattle, even we come out to my college town [in] Alabama, or even eventually Cincinnati—about sending out the message that parents, you can raise great children, and we want to let you know that you have a right to raise them up the way the way that you think is best, and we believe in you, and we believe in that.

Mike: Shaun, thank you so much. If you’d like to get involved, listeners, please go to ParentalRights.org and join the cause. I’m Mike Farris.

Shaun AlexanderPhoto of Shaun

Shaun Alexander was born in Florence, Kentucky. He lived in a single-parent home with his mother Carol, who raised him and his older brother Durran.

Shaun was a high school football All-American and the ESPN #1 high school player of the year. Shaun was also his high school’s senior class president. He went on to the University of Alabama where he graduated in 1999 with a Marketing Degree at the Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration. On the field, he was All-SEC 1st team in 1998 and 1999. Also in 1999 he was the SEC Player of the Year along with being on the NCAA All-American Team. He left the University of Alabama as their all-time rushing leader and touchdown leader. He holds many of the school records still today.

In 2000, Shaun was selected in the first round of the NFL draft by the Seattle Seahawks. As a running back for the Seattle Seahawks, he was a three-time Pro Bowl selection and two time All-Pro. He set an NFL touchdown record (28) in 2005 and became the 1st Seahawks player to win the NFL MVP. He led the Seahawks to their first Super Bowl appearance that same year. He is a member of the NFL 2000 All Decade Team and is one of the top NFL scorers of all time.

Shaun is a member of the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame and the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame.

Shaun is the award-winning author of Touchdown Alexander: My Story of Faith, Football, and Pursuing the Dream and The Walk: Clear Direction and Spiritual Power for Your Life. He now partners with different organizations and travels with his family sharing the message of Jesus, fathering, marriage, community, leadership, manhood, true success, and the power of a TEAM.

Shaun and his wife Valerie have 8 kids. They live in Virginia outside of Washington, D.C.

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