I know, I know Father’s Day is coming up. I should write about that. I should tell you about the breakfast each dad is hoping to wake up to, and the tie they are hoping you didn’t buy. But even though Father’s Day is just days away mentally I am somewhere else. I am on a baseball field.
My oldest son decided to give up on soccer and hockey and give baseball a try. That decision made sense to me, he loved the doing the drills in both soccer and hockey but to get him into the thick of it to get the ball or puck, well that was just was not happening.
So baseball seemed like the obvious choice. It is a highly skilled game and it is just you against the pitcher. We signed up for U6, and like the over ambitious dad I am I agreed to coach. Coach Chris rises again.
You know that old saying about assuming things? I assumed U6 meant that the players would all be 5-6. What it actually meant was all the players would be 3 ½-6. The first line of my training manual has this line:
‘Teaching young children to play baseball requires a lot of patience.’
Truer words have never been written. I have participated in more kids programs than I can think of for various age groups. Many were for 3 ½ year olds, some younger and some older. But never have I ever tried to coach baseball.
Don’t get me wrong the kids are so sweet. They are excited, and they all have home-runs in their eyes. But they also have sand piled up in their gloves, and like to toss it at each other in between batters.
Baseball requires a lot of patience.
A few years ago the ‘no yelling’ promise became all the rage. Parents left and right were taking the pledge that they would not yell or rise their voice at their children. That no matter what was happening they would remain calm and collected and react out of that space.
I was not one of those parents. I am not a yeller by any stretch of the imagination, but I did not need the extra stress or guilt. I knew that there would come a time one day, probably lots of days where yelling happened.
And they have happened. I have lost my cool and raised my voice. Some of those times I think I was justified, other times I know I was just tired and grumpy. Most of the times after we all cooled down I apologized.
Parenting requires a lot of patience.
You know what I have found is a nice cure for a lack of patience? Ice cream. Today after our baseball game wrapped up my son and I sat at a local shop and enjoyed an ice cream together. We talked about playing ball, and about the school year wrapping up. We debated the best ice cream flavour, and talked about how to blow the perfect bubble with bubble gum.
Those simple few moments sitting outside in the cool night air slurping our ice cream cones helped put everything into perspective. I was trying to coach baseball to 3 ½ year olds and 4 year olds, and even 5 and 6 year olds like it was the baseball that mattered. It doesn’t. What matters is the ice cream afterward. Kids this age don’t need to throw the perfect pitch they need the shared experience and the shared victory from a day on the field.
It’s time to root for the home team a little more. This week as Father’s Day looms I am going to make sure I remember that my goal isn’t to get the house to run perfectly, it is to get to the ice cream conversation moments. And those moments are given as a reward for patience.
Christopher Drew is the pastor at Sackville Baptist Church. He is the father for three and the husband of one. He is a self professed geek and gamer. Read more about family, faith, and geekery at http://ModernManOfTheCloth.com