There was a kid on my son’s baseball team that threw his bat every time he struck out at bat.
Fellow team parents thought, “That kid is bad…”
His coach kicked him out of a few games. And when it came to picking kids for the next year…no one picked this kid because:
“He’s so angry….”
“He’s just not a nice kid…”
…cause, well, you know….a nice kid doesn’t throw his bat.
Does he? Doesn’t he?
What makes a kid throw his bat?
Lack of learning how to play the game with calm and control? Parents or a coach missed recognizing the kid has mis-focused anger/frustration and didn’t direct him how or where to put that feeling?
Maybe no one told helped him recognize this feelings and what to do with them? Maybe someone told him and didn’t direct it in a way so the child could hear? Or maybe just maybe the child didn’t respect that parent/coach enough to stop or to listen? Maybe that coach couldn’t reach him? Maybe the child wasn’t really mad at striking out and was using the bat for other frustrations from school…home…friends?
Yet when we see a kid at age 8 throw a bat, we judge. Surely someone is to blame for this kids’ lack of control? Who can that be??
What if that person is YOU? What if every parent/adult who saw an opportunity to help educated a child in a kind, kind way…took it. We see all kinds of bad behavior in children. What if you took a moment and said something to the child? Not in a mean or condescending way…but in a lovely, educator way…helping a child be a better person.
When Hilary Clinton said, “It takes a village…” I laughed. Ha. Take care of your own damn village! But then I became a parent. Of THREE. Three little people who look to me (or don’t look at me and actually scoff at me) to guidance as they grow up to be well-proving, acclimated citizens in this world. What if a screw it up? What if even my husband can’t fill in holes I miss? Who will help? Teachers? Coaches? Someone like you??
It does take a village…if the village is open and willing to stand up and participate! I love the old person that stands up and yells at kids in restaurants to shut up. I laugh. And wait to see what the kids do. Some parents get mad. Like the parents are really the ones getting yelled at and they feel attacked. I say “come on!” In the olden days kids were quiet because they’d be beaten other wise. So kids listened and respected. Today’s kids don’t. They aren’t beaten and they don’t have respect.
Hmmm…? (The few times I tried to spank my oldest – he’d laugh and shout, “Come on Mom! You can hit me harder than that!”)
This essay here is going on to way too many subjects. Many to be addressed singularly.
Bottom line? Who is to blame for this kid, now 8, still throwing his bat? The coach? His past coach? His current coach? His dad? His mom? Maybe it’s his sisters fault for being so annoying each day that he is angry and must throw his bat? Maybe it’s YOUR fault for watching and watching and judging and talking about but doing nothing to help the poor child?
See all the possibilities???
So the next time you see a kid make a mistake…one that you know or see a solution for…be a coach. Be a mentor. Take the kid (or adult!!) aside and suggest another option. Don’t judge. Don’t condescend. Just educated and share your knowledge. Several things will happen: You may wise up a child…and you will feel like a hero.
How cool is that from a single mistake??