Parenting is a Humbling Experience

Parenting is Humbling

 Last Spring my husband and I decided to have our youngest son play baseball in a different league; one that was more competitive. Our intentions were to get him ready for high school and play with some of the kids whom he may play with in high school.

He tried out and made a team. We thought he was in for a great competitive season which would help him grow as a player.

He ended up on a team with a coach who created a great first impression. We both agreed how much his philosophy of coaching was so much like my husband’s.

Well that soon changed after game one. We came to realize that this coach was just in it to win at any cost. Even at the expense of the growth of all his players and the confidence of the young men with whom he was coaching.  My son spent a large part of the season on the bench.  Some games he played one inning and some games he never got up to bat. 

Now, don’t get me wrong. I understand how the game works once the kids get older and I understand that not all players get the same amount of play time. I also am aware that my son is not the best player on the team.

But I know how coaches, just like teachers, have a chance to help shape a young person’s life. They have the opportunity in front of them to make a true difference. They have the chance to teach the players more than just the win. It is difficult for me, with an educator’s background, to see this opportunity pass because the coach’s ultimate goal is just winning.

My son never complained, but I could see in his composure and attitude how it was affecting him. He loves the game of baseball and he has a great baseball mind- he knows the game and how to play with strategy. As a mother, it was so difficult to sit, watch and not go and “save” him.  The mama bear in me wanted to approach the coach and ask why my son wasn’t getting any play time, but I knew that I could not do that. My son needed to be that one to voice his thoughts to his coach. So that is what we encouraged him to do.  He is an extremely shy and introverted young man, but we hoped he would take our advice. He did! He approached his coach and asked him how he could get more playing time. The response was ” I will give you more time next game”. The “next game” came and he sat on the bench most of the game. So my son began to accept his fate of sitting on the bench. However, he never gave up hope that he would get out there. Finally, it came to the point where he would say to me- “I just want to get out there one inning, mom!”.  Despite all that, he kept showing up to every practice and he was the lone player who waited after the game to shake his coach’s hand and thank him for coaching him. For that, I could not be more proud of my little man. I know he learned a lot more than baseball during that season!

As parents we want to save our kids and make it all better, but unfortunately we need to let them go through the disappointment. We have to allow these experiences to happen because this is what grows their character. This is what shapes them into the adults that they will become. Oh! It is so hard to watch from the sidelines and not react. But it is simple- parenting is one of the most humbling experiences!

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