My child is my teacher and he always seems to teach me or remind me of these lessons when I least expect them. Lately, he gets joy out of pointing out the lesson after the fact. Sometimes, he even laughs at me because I am unaware a lesson is taking place. In the end, the fact is I do learn from him and he is my teacher.
When my teacher was younger, he loved to play baseball. He caught on fast and was actually pretty good at it. He played Fall and Spring ball for several years, then out of the blue, my teacher threw in the white towel. At the time he expressed that he needed a long break away from baseball. During this break, I asked him if he was interested in trying another sport like Soccer, Football or even Hockey. No, no and no. Well since then, he has returned to baseball and has actually become quit passionate about it since his return.
At the end of the baseball season that year, a team party was planned by the team family to be held at one of the community parks. As my wife and I were getting ready for the party, gathering the needed items, my teacher was in rare form. He was sitting in one of those fold up chairs used for camping or a ball game and eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. He had jelly smeared all around the outside of his mouth and he was barking orders as if he was a director in the next blockbuster hit. I kept chuckling because I could not take him seriously due to the fact that I kept focusing my attention on the oval shaped jelly ring around his mouth.
"Dad." He started.
"what?" I answered.
"Do you have it all?" He questioned.
"I'm not really sure what you mean by all." I replied.
"Well that's why I'm here." He pointed out.
"Really? Why is that?" I probed.
" So you don't forget anything." He explained.
He began to raddle off items that he felt we should bring to the team party.
"Do you have the football?" He started.
"Do you have the big Frisbee?"
"Do you have my baseball glove?"
"Do you have your baseball glove?"
"Let's bring the old extra glove just in case someone forgot to bring theirs." He advised.
"We don't need to bring an extra glove. This is a baseball team, I'm sure they will have their gloves." I shot back.
"Just in case, please put it in the truck." He advised.
"Okay, if we must." I said.
"You know dad it is important to make a check list so you don't forget anything." He pointed out.
I was actually baffled at his comment because I did not expect it, but he was right. I certainly understand the importance of making a check list, but what I did not know at the time was a lesson was part of that checklist. My teacher had set into motion the lesson that I was to learn later that day.
Once everything was together and in the truck, we headed off to the park. As we turned into the parking lot of the park, we noticed several teammate's had already arrived and were already playing. We saw Frisbees flying and footballs being tossed, but not one baseball was being thrown. I thought that was odd, especially since this was an end of the year baseball team party.
My teacher jumped out of the truck and raced over to play with his team. He immediately engaged in the football toss and Frisbee throwing. After a while, the kids decided to play on the playground where there was a slide, a little climbing wall, monkey bars and so on. They started out playing hid-and-seek, then chase and finally moved onto tag-you're-it.
After the boys played on the jungle-gym for a good while, they were called over to the picnic tables where the parents and coaches had pizza and drinks waiting for them. It was certainly a good time for the kids to rest since they were going a thousand miles an hour as they ran all over the place. The resting period was a perfect opportunity to hand out the "other goodies". Jeff, the head coach, stood in front of the players and parents as he called each child's name, said a few positive words about each of them and then handed out a medallion in recognition of their hard work. As the assistant coach, I expressed how proud I was of each of them. I then handed out a game ball to each player that was signed by each coach. The ball was also personalized with our team name and color and each player had their name printed on the ball. As you can imagine each player was so excited. The players started to toss the game balls in the air to themselves. This of course caused the boys to want to throw baseballs and play catch with each other. The parents expressed to each of them to leave the game balls with them in fear of getting ruined. The players complied, but this opened another challenge...
It became very apparent that not many of the players had thought to bring their baseball gloves. My teacher ran to where I was standing and chatting with my friend Jeff, the head coach of the team. He piped in with an "excuse me" and began.
"See dad." He began.
"See dad, what?" I asked.
"Barely any of those guys have theirs." He voiced as he pointed to a group of players.
"They don't have their what?" I questioned.
"Dugh, their gloves." He pointed.
Jeff expressed that he might have a few extra in his car. I went around to the other coaches and parents asking if they had any. Some of the parents brought their child's glove, but the majority did not. The other two coaches did have extra gloves in their cars. Between all four of us coaches having a few extra gloves and with the parents that did bring their child's glove, we were close to having enough for the entire team.
After we gathered of the baseball gloves, my teacher ran back to me again and pointed out his suggestion from earlier that day.
"See dad, it turned out bringing my extra glove was a smart thing to do, since most of the other kids did not bring theirs... see ... see I told you... HA-HA-HAAA-HA-HA!" He sang as he danced in a circle.
Okay, my teacher was right and I never heard the end of it on the ride home after the team party.
In a nutshell, the lesson that I was reminded of that day was: It is important to always be prepared for the situation you are about to embark upon.