Have you ever got the chance to attend a youth ball game. Maybe you are lucky enough to have a child that plays youth sports. Congratulations! Youth sports are a very big part of American life. Maybe too big. Sure there is a small number that benefit from it to the point of college scholarships or even a career as a professional athlete. This is a very small percentage. Most children who are playing these sports won’t get the scholarships or the career as a professional. Sure, they benefit from sportsmanship, life skills of winning, losing, and setting goals. Making yourself better. The down side is so many kids also learn what it is like to never be good enough. Parents may love their children more than the world and only want to help but so often set a terrible example. I once attended a basketball game that my son was in and felt so bad for a player on the opposite team. He was a good player but not a super star. This young man was as good as anyone else there that night but not the player that his Dad had dreams of him being. Let’s get to his Dad. His Dad had done good in life, was a medical doctor, and had riches of the world. The problem was, he couldn’t walk and chew gum at the same time. He was on his son the whole game. Screaming, yelling, jumping, cursing. He made a fool of himself. It was so bad one of the refs stopped the game and told him he would have to calm down or leave. Now I am all about freedom and raising your children as you see fit, but we must stop and think is this helping. Is this making our children better people? This young man left the game with his head hung low. He was so embarrassed and felt worthless. The young man is now in college. He is playing no sports. He simply wasn’t good enough. Just like the majority of kids. He is very intelligent and will do good for himself. So, did that night years ago gain anything? I say no. It only crushed his self esteem. He is right where he would be in life if his Dad had praised him for doing his best. We must watch how we act towards our children. These things will be remembered by them for years to come. Praise your children. Be proud of them and let them know. Unless you are Michael Jordon or Labron James then you have no right to talk down to these kids as this doctor did. He wanted his son to be what he wasn’t. Let the kids have fun. It is about them, not the parents. Kids are only kids once. Let them be happy and have fun.
When you was a kid, did you ever play hot potato? I remember playing the game. Kids would get in a big circle and throw a potato around to one another to the sound of music mimicking tossing a real potato that was hot. The object of the game would be to not get stuck with the potato in hand when the music stopped. Each time the music would stop and whoever was holding the potato would be disqualified from the game. Then the music would start over and go through the same process again until it was down to one person. They would be declared the winner. It is funny what we can learn from a child’s game. Every day as adults we get up and start juggling our day. We have got to balance our careers, families, school, volunteer work, obligations,church, aging parents. The list goes on and on. We go so wrapped up in life that we focus entirely on that hot potato. We get so busy and competitive to beat the next person in line that we often lose sight of the main objective of the game. The child’s game should be played to socialize and spend time with friends. It should be fun. Everyday as we juggle life and focus on work (that hot potato) we slowly lose sight of the real things in life. Sure we have to work to pay the bills. We have to have shelter. We have got to have food, meds and basic things of life. As a human being we strive for more and more possession. It is only normal. We want our children to have it better than we did. So many times though we push to much in our schedules only to see that we actually neglect what our children need. They need mama and daddy. They need to be loved. They need to be hugged. The world is so educated now that people are smarter than they have ever been, but has it paid off? Women used to be able to stay at home and raise their children. Now let me say that if a woman has a career and is happy then I am all for it. I am in no way a sexist, but if she is having to work just to make ends meet and the children have got to attend day care are they really benefitting? Could we drop a few things out of our schedule to be there for them. Dads could you take off early from work just because. Just because. No reason. Just to spend sometime with the family. Do we really need that new car? That big house? What about that time share? The country club membership? Let’s all stop and pay attention before we get burned by that hot potato.
Just as the flower pushes through the soil in the spring and begins to grow, every man, women, boy and girl in the vast world was born sometime in history. As that baby, the first air you breathe sets in a chain of events that in its self is a miracle. No matter what your religious beliefs as soon as you are born you are destined to die. What you do with the time between birth and death is up to you. Life is like a hour glass. When it begins the sand starts pouring through and as a child it seems like eternity before all that sand could get through that glass. Soon the innocence of that child leaves and we venture through adolescence. We think we are on top of the world. No worries, no pain. Not thinking even once about that hour glass in the background. We take risk and do dumb things without ever thinking of the end. Before we know it we meet the companion of our dreams and set out with nothing more than the clothes on our backs into the hostile world on the horizon. No longer are we protected by Mama and Daddy. We are on our own, still not thinking about that hour glass. We have our children and the hard times come, looking for God to guide us out. The work it takes to pay the bills requires long hours, often times leaving our children behind at child care. Often times we are so tired on days off we ignore the children and their wants to rest our tired bodies. A few years pass and we manage to get that big promotion at work that we have worked so hard for. We tell our family at home but they are not excited for they are preparing for college and their lives ahead. With them driving down the road toward their own life we stop and look over our shoulder at that hour glass that we had forgotten about and think, my gosh a lot of sand has poured through. Grandkids come along and you love to play with them but wish you could see your children more. They are so busy and tired from their own careers they don’t have time to come around. You finally reach retirement and can afford that big rv to travel the world. The whole time though that hour glass is sitting on your shoulder. You can here the sand pouring through. Man, how different it is than when you were young. Now looking out the window of the rest home you think of your great- grandchildren and their hour glass that just begun. Yours no longer matters. It is their but life has passed you by and you no longer have to worry of the disappearing sand. The hope is there that those new additions to the family will stop, enjoy life along the journey, and do the good things that matter,for life is like a hour glass.