Others' perspectives can change my own

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By The Staff

By Jeff D'Alesio

Guest Columnist

The conversation lasted no more than two minutes between three friends.

One in the group had learned earlier that high school friends had had a death in their family: Their 12-year-old son.

A healthy, sports loving child never woke up.

A snap of a finger and life turns tragic.

It would be insulting to those parents who have lost a child, particularly at such a young age, to try and express that I know how they feel. I don’t and pray that I never do.

Hearing of a death like this is life-jarring. And here I was earlier in the day still puzzled by how a talented group of 10-years-olds so accustomed to playing baseball at a high level could have played so bad, roughly 24 hours prior to hearing the news of this youngster’s death.

OK, our team played bad for one game and we lost a game we would win 9 times out of 10. Is it really that big of a deal when you’re dealing with your kids?

I learned a valuable lesson three months ago on a ride home from a March baseball tournament. The teacher was my wife, who takes the common sense approach to most things. Me, I overreact, realize most of the time I was wrong and apologize.

I was told that if I didn’t change, and soon, our son would not want to play baseball any longer.

Being hard on my son in baseball was counter productive. I knew it when he was 6 and I knew it then. It did him no good, it did me no good. The game we both love had become miserable — for both of us.

So I changed. It is now rare when I will raise my voice to him. I realized as his coach, I was harder on him than I was on any other player. Talk about an injustice to a child.

Is it frustrating when he doesn’t hit the ball like I know he’s capable of hitting it? You bet. Does it suck when he makes an error? You bet.

But I know I speak for every parent who has ever watched their child embrace something and give it everything they have: You would not change the highs and lows that they have for anything. It’s all part of growing up.

Sometimes, we as parents fail miserably at the game of patience with our kids. True, it is a fine line to walk between being taken advantage of and teaching, but there is much more to gain simply by listening and encouraging.

I know the parents who lost their child are devastated beyond belief today. I also know they would love to have what we still have with our children: Time.

Sometimes it takes a common sense lecture or a tragedy to make you realize you really do have it good.