Teachings of a Child
by Hal Evan Caplan
February 16, 2013
My son teaches me life's lessons many times over. A lot of times, these lessons appear at the most unexpected places. During serious situations, while he is playing, exercising and even getting ready for bed are times when I can expect to be taught. I can honestly say that I am often thrown a "curve ball" (pun intended) and don't even see the lesson coming. That is my favorite part about learning from him; the fact that I don't even see the lesson start. It's funny to me because by the time lesson is over, is when I actually realize I was smack dab in the middle of one minutes earlier. That is why he is the teacher and I am the student.
My teacher plays on a travel ball baseball team. Because there are many tournaments all over the state, usually each weekend during the baseball season, the coaches hold regularly scheduled practices several times a week. These practices are very serious and practices are important because the coaches teach the players, new plays, game strategy and to work on the fundamentals of the game. During the practice on this particular day, the coaches were conducting base running drills with the all the players. Unfortunately, my teacher was not taking this drill seriously. He was noticeably goofing off and tried to involve another player with his antics.
During this practice I was sitting on the bleachers with the other parents. I was very frustrated because I saw his lack of concentration from afar. I called out to him and motioned to him with a hand gesture. I was hoping that he would get the message to straighten up and get serious. He looked at me and shrugged his shoulders as if to indicate he had no idea why I was motioning to him in the first place.
The field coach noticed that my teacher and another player were messing around and got onto both of them pretty hard, as he should given the situation. Knowing that being on the travel ball team was a privilege; my teacher quickly straightened up and got his head into the drill at hand. I saw him immediately apologize to his teammate for interfering with his practice and they continued to perform the drills at hand. When he finally looked back at me, he mouthed the words, "I know, I know." Oh, he knew alright, he knew he was wrong and steam was coming out of my ears.
After the field drill ended, the head coach instructed that all the players head into the dug-out to get some water and take a small break. The pitching coach learned that his son was one of the players that disrupted practice. When the pitching coach entered the dug-out he began to reprimand his son about the incident. He yelled at his son and reminded him that the team had a tournament coming and if he didn't take practice seriously that he would bench him the entire tournament. The coach's son tried to explain that it was not his fault and that he was not part of the incident, but the pitching coach continued to scold his son.
The bleachers were right behind the dug-out and I was just about to stand up and say something to the pitching coach. My goal was to let the coach know that it was not his son, but it was all my sons fault. I knew I was at my teachers baseball practice, but I did not know I was about to be taught yet another lesson.
Upon seeing his teammate getting wrongly accused by his dad, the pitching coach, my teacher immediately took matters into his own hands. He stood up and admitted to his coach that his son did not have any part in the disruption and that it was his fault 100%.
"Coach, it was not Logan's fault. He did nothing wrong. It was my fault. I was the one who disrupted the drill, it was all me." He pleaded.
"Are you sure?" The coach questioned.
"Yes sir coach, it was all my fault." My teacher confessed.
"Thank you for letting me know that and for telling the truth." The coach responded.
The coach apologized to his son and then turned back to my teacher and thanked him for manning up to his disruption. He shook my teachers hand and explained that he would have to run laps after practice. My teacher nodded his head and said, "yes sir" to the coach. Then the pitching coach walked out of the dug-out and back onto the field, in order to prepare for the next set of drills. My teacher turned to his friend who happened to be sitting next him in the dug-out and again apologized. His friend and teammate thanked him for stepping up and telling the truth.
I was proud of what I saw. I walked over to the back of the dug-out just behind my teacher as the team was getting ready for the next set of instructions.
"Son." I softly called.
He turned around to see me right behind him.
"Yes dad." He returned, expecting me I'm sure, to lay into him about the incident.
"You know I was pretty steamed at you for monkeying around out there when you should have been taking practice seriously." I reminded him.
"I'm really sorry dad. I know better than that." He immediately uttered.
?But you what, I?m actually not mad at all.? I retorted.
"You're not?" He questioned.
"No, I am actually very proud of you." I answered.
"I'm confused then. I disrupted practice so you should be mad at me." He implied.
"I agree, but the reason I'm not mad is because of how you handled the situation with your coach after the fact. I am so proud of you for making it right and standing up for your teammate since it was all you. Thank you for making it right. That takes a really big person to do that." I grinned.
"Well I didn't want my friend to get into trouble for something that was my fault." He explained.
I just gleamed. I could not have been more proud of my teacher than I was at that moment.
"Well, admitting that you are wrong and making it right is very important." He insisted.
I was speechless at that comment and just shook my head in agreement. The head coach called for the team to come back onto the field for the next drill. The boys raced out of the dug-out and joined the coaches at mid-field.
In a nutshell, the lesson that I was reminded of that day was: It is important to admit when you are wrong and to correct the situation, especially if it involves others.
About the Author:
I am happy to share with you, the readers, that the stories of "Teachings of a Three Year Old... Turned Tyke" has been published into a book. The book is available at: partialobserver.com and halcaplan.com (though amazon.com). If you would like a signed copy from My Teacher and me, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can work out the details.
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