Ready, Swing

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The boys started t-ball last night. My step-son’s mom and I laughed while he sat in the ball bucket. My mom and I couldn’t get over how tough they looked in their gear.  It was cute and funny and at times took coaching from everyone to get them both focused and on the actual field. My son got to warm up by playing catch with his dad. He was given the sweetest little boy memory. He loved hitting the ball too. He was bored and begging for snack otherwise.

Fortunately his step-father and his uncle were coaching and were able to talk “Ryder” to him. He loved hitting so much that he couldn’t master the practice swing. He was told that when he heard the word “Ready” he was to swing slowly and line the bat up with ball, but not actually hit the ball. This would allow his actual swing to be more precise.

In true little boy fashion, he just hit the ball when he heard “Ready”.  The ball would just roll off the tee and onto the ground.  It did not really go anywhere. After several times of starting over, he got it and hit the ball pretty far. We all cheered.

There are so many times as adults when we just swing. We go with our guts or our emotions and unsuccessfully hit the ball. We react instead of think of the best strategy. We hear the word and move instead of really try.

When I looked at the field and at all the people there watching, my heart felt reassured. Everyone was there for those boys. The boys’ uncle was so patient and supportive. My son’s step dad, “Wabird”, was so involved. Their Gogo was such a cheerleader. Their mommies and my son’s dad were proud and full of love.

It’s unfortunate when things are just reacted on and we just swing because we hear the word “Ready”. Impulses and adrenaline kick in and we are blindly swinging. We spit venom at one another. We bring up past offenses. We judge. We put our passions in the wrong areas. We aren’t present and focusing on what will really put the ball where we want it.

The two people that I was standing with are people that I share a troubled or painful past with. In human logic, we shouldn’t like each other, nevertheless, speak to one another. But there we were for our children and in a wall of support for those boys. And, guess what? It was actually fun and easy for the three of us.

My son spoke and giggled with his brother’s mom. He got special moments with his dad. He got to hear his mommy say, “I have never been more proud of you.” He got to run bases with his step-dad. His uncle taught him how to work on his form. He got hugs and high fives from his Gogo.

My step-son was given the chance to be cheered on by both his mommy and daddy. He got to have special talks with his Gogo and tickles from my son’s dad. He got to take a knee with his uncle on the field. He got to hear me say, “You did such a good job. You’re so good at this.”

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They were given such a gift.

My point is that I whole-heartedly believe that this was always where we all wanted the ball to go. We all wanted this for our kids. We wanted them to know, without a doubt, that they will always be the top priority and our love and support will never fail them.

Even parents sometimes hit the ball at the word “Ready”. But we can always be encouraged by love to try again. We can breathe, take a practice swing, and then knock it out of the park. We can win the game for our kids.

1 John 4:21

And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.

God tells us to love one another. There are no exceptions. We don’t really get to decide where we deposit our love. Now, I am not so naive that I cannot understand why it’s easier not to love others. I get it. Trust, me I GET IT. I have never won a single game in my life by not loving others and by not being kind NO MATTER WHAT. I do not own a single trophy from being mean or spiteful.

What greater way is there to expose God’s love to others than loving them and showing them respect and kindness even when it may not be warranted? What impact will that make on your children? They will be taught love and not malice or hostility. Imagine what peaceful hearts they will have. They will know your love for them is far greater than any other emotion or resentment you may bear.

I have heard it takes a village to raise children. Why not give them their village? Children are watching. They are repeating. They are understanding more than we may know. Show them love. Show them how to win.

“Ready”

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