I guess every father and (mother for that matter) have dreams for their children.
Both of my sons know how much I enjoy baseball and how badly I have wished that I had talent for the game and could have competed on a real baseball team. I played a lot of sandlot ball but that was the best I could do but I was resolved to help my sons have a better experience with this sport than I did. At the same time I committed myself to not be one of those fathers who lives his dreams through his sons.
This story occurred while living in a small town in Southeast Utah. In the past this town had had a reputation for being a baseball town so when my oldest son Paul was about six years old I encouraged him to sign up for a coach pitch baseball league for kids his age. He agreed to play but by the end of the first inning of his first game I knew that his heart was not into this sport.
Paul played center field and my chest puffed with pride as I watched him run to the outfield at the beginning of the game. The first batter up hit the ball, then the second batter, the third batter, and so forth until the entire team had batted. I started to worry when I noticed Paul getting bored and losing interest in the game.
I turned my head for just a moment and when I turned back Paul was sitting down in centerfield picking grass.
I can laugh now about what happened next but at the time it was not funny. A ball was hit to centerfield within five feet of where Paul was sitting and I saw him watch the ball roll right past him and then I saw players from right and left field chasing it. He sat there and watched one of the boys pick up the ball and throw it to the second baseman. Paul just sat there nonchalantly until it was his team’s turn to bat.
It didn’t matter how much I encouraged him or tried to work with him Paul played the entire season sitting on the grass in center field.
This is a great story about a father getting frustrated. It was a good experience to prepare me for the day both Paul and his younger brother Peter played at a higher level. From this experience I learned patience and understanding which helped me prepare for my sons’ future competition in sports.
This experience was influential in developing my attitude that children should make a team based on their own talents and abilities. Over the years I watched my sons play various sports and I witnessed many parents get angry and yell at their son and many who went to the coaches and unleashed their anger on them.
I really enjoy sports and I have often wondered what happened to those boys whose parents pushed them so hard to reach an unreasonable goal that was impossible for them or anyone else to reach let alone kids playing a game.
I learned that there is a fine difference between pushing our children and encouraging them. I have learned that both can be used in the development and growth of our children but we need to use caution with the push and heap lots of love and encouragement on our children.
In reality my dreams and goals for my sons were reached especially when I realize that both boys turned out to be kind, compassionate, thoughtful men.
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