Our son Grant is almost 8. He is naturally gifted athletically and ironically, has very little interest in playing sports. He would much rather spend his time reading books, building complex Lego structures, riding his bike, or playing some imaginary game in the empty lot next door.
All across Newberg signs are popping up in business windows and front yards that baseball is around the corners and sign-ups for little league are this week. Curt and I are very anti-rat-race as parents, but we also know that Grant could be really good at baseball. The longer he waits to start, the broader the learning curve will be for him to catch up. With that in mind, I printed off the registration form, dug out the checkbook, and hunted down Grant, who was engrossed in constructing a space station out of Legos.
I told him about little league, how fun it would be and asked him if he wanted to play. He indifferently shrugged his shoulders, sighed "Maybe," and asked, "When are the practices and the games?" I didn't have the answer, so I went to look and got distracted.
Later that night as I was clearing the clutter off the kitchen counter, I found the registration form. I asked Grant again if he wanted to play baseball, and again, he asked about games and practices. The schedule wasn't posted since teams aren't even drafted, so I told him that the times would be determined, but games would most likely be on Saturdays.
Without missing a beat, he said, "Then I don't want to do it." I was surprised by how quick his answer was and asked him to explain why Saturday games were a deal-breaker. He casually replied, "Cause Saturday is family day. We sleep in, eat a big breakfast and do something together as a family. I don't want to go to baseball if it interrupts family day."
Curt and I stared at each other dumbfounded. The competitor in me wanted to force him to play so he could develop the skills I know he has. The protector in me wanted to make him try so when he finally does want to play, he doesn't get teased or feel sad if he's not as good as the other kids. But the philosopher in me couldn't argue with his reasoning or his clarity of perspective that was wise beyond his years. My heart warmed with love as I tossed the blank registration form in the garbage and my mind started planning a spring full of Saturdays that are wide-open for family fun.