Tag Archives: children

SPEND TIME WITH CHILDREN

Whether you are a parent, grandparent, relative, teacher, friend, coach or mentor, spending quality time with a child is not only good for the child, it’s an investment in the leaders of the future—make each moment count !

You have a choice—choose wisely! Give a child YOUR TIME.

YourTime

Tom Tatum – Author – 2016

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PARENTS DON’T KNOW MUCH

I’m sure this happens more often than not. It certainly happened to me!

As kids, we just didn’t respect the wisdom our parents had in the decisions they made about what we could or could not do. We just wanted total freedom to do whatever or go wherever we desired.

Then we become adults and have children of our own, and suddenly, we realize how smart our parents really were—we become our parents. In today’s world, that’s a good thing!

Amazing

Tom Tatum – Author – 2016

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YOUTH DADDY-BALL AND ME

There was a time in life about one-hundred years ago when I played youth baseball. In those days, the term “Daddy-Ball” didn’t exist—at least I never heard it used. Yes, dads actually coached teams their own children played on way back then, just as they do now. However, it seems things are a bit different today or maybe my childhood view of the world was blind compared to the way I see things as a grandfather. BTW – this article also applies to grandparents who are involved in youth sports!

In today’s world, the term Daddy-Ball tends to have a negative connotation. Why is this? Well, in some cases when a parent coaches the team their child plays on, they place their blood-kin in “star” positions whether or not the child’s skills justify such assignments. It’s hard for any parent not to do this when they tend to live their lives vicariously through their children. They want their precious ones vaulted into the bright lights of stardom. Their child bats at the top of the lineup, pitches, and/or plays shortstop—those highly coveted positions on the field. This situation also applies to any sport or activity. Sometimes the child actually deserves the “prime” position, but in many cases, they don’t. Hence, the downside of Daddy-Ball becomes evident by the buzz in the stands from parents of children who are on the outside looking in.

A downside of Daddy-Ball occurs when capable children don’t receive the playing opportunities the “chosen” ones do. They play the less-glamorous positions in youth sports or sit the bench; they don’t have the opportunities to develop their skills to be the best they can be. I’ve seen this scenario play out many times with my grandchildren in the past ten years. If you disagree, I invite you to visit a ballpark catering to youth sports and observe the action for yourself.

However, Daddy-Ball doesn’t always have to be a negative thing. Thank goodness, it’s not. Many dads out there enjoy giving ALL kids the opportunity to shine. The following true story describes how my father handled Daddy-Ball long before the term existed.

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My dad coached the baseball team I played on when I was ten-years old. However, he was always harder on me than he was the rest of my teammates—he didn’t cut me any slack. In fact, he was downright tough on me—the way it should be for kids playing today. Tough love is not easy for any parent to practice, but it is necessary sometimes. In fact, it’s actually a good thing for many reasons.

VFW TeamDadSon2

Putting my humble nature aside for a moment, I thought I was a decent player. I was a pitcher—that coveted position on youth baseball teams. Unfortunately, I allowed my “average” physical prowess to warp my mind before a game one night. It was my turn to be the starting pitcher, but I opened my big mouth and told Dad I wasn’t feeling well and didn’t want to pitch. However, that was not true—I felt fine and really did want to pitch. Yes, I had a lot of growing up to do. I was an immature kid who wanted to hear praises for my nonexistent superb-pitching skills—to hear that the team needed me to pitch in order for us to win the game. I was selfish, foolish even, and deserved what came my way.

What followed was the best thing that could have happened to me. After making my statement, my dad didn’t say a word to me—no begging, no praising, nothing! He announced the lineup for the game by calling out the batting order, citing the names and positions for the players. To the dismay of my selfish-little mind, he didn’t say my name. In fact, Dad had drawn a line through my name on the scorecard and replaced it with another boy. It was a boy who had never pitched before.

M Pitching BW1

After the first inning, I questioned Dad why I was not pitching and he unsympathetically answered, “Son, we need our best pitcher on the mound tonight. You aren’t the man for the job because you feel bad. At least that’s what you told me, so I did as you asked. Your position is to sit on the bench and cheer for the team. Support the pitcher on his first outing. You ought to be able to that regardless of how bad you feel.”

I thought, “That didn’t go as planned. I should have kept my big mouth shut about feeling bad!

Dad sat my wise-rear-end attitude on the bench—for the entire game! I didn’t play at all that night, but our team still won without me. The new pitcher did a wonderful job on the mound. I guess there’s nothing like having a little salt rubbed in an open wound to help amplify a life-lesson—a self-inflicted wound at that. Welcome to the real world Little Tommy—it’s tough out there!

BenchWarmerHat1

I’m not sure what Dad would have said to me had the team lost that game, but I feel sure this story would have a slightly different conclusion and a few additional lessons-learned. I grew up that night and learned some valuable life-lessons that have served me well. Dad’s silent method of making me think hard about what I had done was a perfect example of good Daddy-Ball and parenting. He knew I didn’t feel bad, but he got his point across in a subtle yet effective manner. Here’s what I learned the hard way.

  • Never say you feel bad when you don’t—life will pass you by in a flash.
  • Suck it up and be a bulldog when things don’t go your way.
  • Don’t be selfish—the world of “me-me” does not exist, nor should it.
  • There is always someone waiting to fill your shoes—you are not the only fish in the sea, so always give your best.
  • All kids on a team deserve an opportunity in the spotlight of prime positions.
  • Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.
  • If you think you’re good/great at what you do, don’t seek praise; it will come your way if truly deserved.
  • Be ready to serve in any “position” you’re called upon to do, and that includes sitting on the bench to give others a chance.
  • You never know what you can do until you give it your best.

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In retrospect, my dad helped me more that night than I thought at the time—he taught me about life in the real world. For that, I am truly blessed. So, if you are a parent-coach, don’t forget the other players on your team. They deserve a chance to learn and grow their skills too. They may actually be better than your blood-kin. If not, at least you gave them a chance to rise to the occasion, and you may have helped a future shining star take the first step to the Hall of Fame.

As a coach, parent, or grandparent, we should praise a child when he/she does well, teach them how to face adversity, and be there to help when they fall down. However, be careful not to praise children for mediocre performances for you may create a little monster if you do. Learning from one’s mistakes is a good teacher since we will not always succeed in everything we do.

1 Peter 5:6-7 (KJV)

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for He careth for you.

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YOUTH AND ROLE MODELS

YouthRoleModels

A child comes into this world without knowledge of love, hate, prejudice, greed, good or evil. They learn these things by observing the actions and words of others—role models.

Role models definitely play an integral “role” in shaping the behavior of young people. As children age, they want to “be like” and “act like” their role models; they start emulating things these individuals say and do. It’s great when those actions and words are what we want for our youth, but that’s not always the case.

When I think of role models, the first that come to mind are famous people—athletes, movie stars, singers, etc. Folks like Rickie, Jordon, Tiger, Denzel, George, Julia, Carrie, and you. Who? That’s right, even YOU!

The good news is you don’t have to be famous to be one. In many ways, we are all role models because we influence the actions, behavior, and character of children. That’s a bit scary isn’t it!

Here’s the bad news—YOU ARE a role model for youth in some way, shape, or form. Think about that for a moment. Young folks observe your actions, reactions, and listen to things you say, even when you don’t realize they are doing it. Yep, they’re always watching and listening! Your actions and words often influence (good or bad) their young-impressionable minds. For some of them, YOU may be the most important person in their lives. As a parent, grandparent, relative, friend, coach, or teacher you may spend a lot of time with them. Enjoy the time with them, but try to be a good influence also.

Unfortunately, you are not always at your best. That applies to everyone! There are times in life when you have bad days; it happens! Your frustrations mount as one small thing after another builds pressure within you until you can’t take anymore. You burst like a pinpricked balloon, releasing a volley of gestures or words that are not always representative of good behavior. You react in ways you would never want young minds to witness or emulate.

I think I’ve seen the full spectrum of role-model behavior in my lifetime. For instance, as I watch my grandchildren performing in various events, typically sports, I’m sometimes shocked how some adults act around young folks. Saying it politely, I think some fans and coaches bring their pinpricked-balloon attitudes to the ballpark. They are not exactly the role models I want in the lives of my grandchildren, but they do serve a practical purpose—how NOT to act. More often than not, everyone acts civil, which is good and healthy for the character development of youth.

Just for fun, look at the short list below and select one individual from each line who you think would be the best role model for the young folks you know.

  1. Miley Cyrus                 Carrie Underwood
  2. Al Sharpton                  Dr. Ben Carson
  3. Tim Tebow                   Bruce “Caitlyn” Jenner
  4. Tiger Woods                 Jordan Spieth
  5. President Bush             President Obama
  6. Michelle Obama          Condoleezza Rice
  7. YOURSELF                Uncle Joe/Aunt Sue

I’m sure you get the picture. YOU are the best role model for the young folks in your corner of the world. Congratulations! There are probably days when you would choose Uncle Joe or Aunt Sue over yourself—especially on your burst-balloon days. Hang in there because you CAN make a big difference!

So, what are your actions and words teaching children in your sphere of influence? Do you need to do some minor tweaking to your efforts? I certainly do!

Be a good role model… the world could use another one!

 Your certificate: print, date, and sign it—go forth and make a difference!

CertificateRecognition

Tom Tatum – Author – 2015

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor   LinkedIn: TomTatum1

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Author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum