Have you ever had your children totally show you up? Prove you wrong? Make you realize your parenting faux pas? Yeah, that happens. It happened to me this weekend at the ball field.
Let me give you some of the painful backstory… last year my son Charlie (who is now 10) joined baseball for the first time. He liked the hat. He liked the cleats. He hated the pitching.
Charlie would stand at home plate holding his bat in the ready position, totally terrified of being hit by a ball– or striking out in front of everyone. So, in a brilliant move for a kid playing kid-pitch baseball, Charlie came up with a plan: don’t swing. He was hedging his bets that the pitcher couldn’t hit the strike zone three times in a row. Charlie got walked nearly every time he was up to bat.
It was a good tactic, but I sat in the bleachers aching for my boy at every single game. I longed for my child to be brave. I longed for him to try. I longed for him to fail because I knew that was the only way he would learn that it’s okay.
Charlie’s team ended up winning the championship and Charlie even scored a few runs, but he continued to play it safe.
When baseball sign-ups came around this year, I encouraged Charlie to try something else. I offered to sign him up for golf. I even offered to pay for private lessons.
My sweet boy considered it long and hard and then realized he’d rather be with his friends… at the baseball field.
Game one rolled around and at the encouragement of his coaches, Charlie swung the bat. He made contact, but it was a foul ball caught near first base and he was out.
I positively beamed and then arranged for my son to have an ice cream celebration. HE SWUNG THE BAT PEOPLE! This is big stuff.
With that tiny bit of confidence under his belt, Charlie approached the second and third games with a new plan. When he hit a double and eventually made it around the bases, he ran into the dugout and then back out again. I looked up and there was my son standing in front of me, waiting to hear my words of praise. (His coaches told him he couldn’t go hug his mom anymore, but I will always cherish that one special moment.)
I almost get weepy now when I hear the ball crack against the bat, because I know regardless of the outcome of the game, my kid is invested. He’s all in, willing to take a risk because he can feel the reward on the other side.
What is it that you think you can’t do? I bet if you really thought about it, you’d find in your heart something you long to do, but don’t because fear is holding you back.
I’m glad Charlie didn’t give up on baseball. I’m glad he didn’t bow to my parental pressure. I’m happy to admit I was wrong. There’s plenty of summer left to play golf.