Friday, July 1, 2011

Pitching and Parenting...

*N*, 9, loves to play baseball. This is his fourth season playing and the first season he is playing kid-pitch. He has been hit by a pitch at least once in every game he has played. Fortunately, they haven't gone higher than his waist. Yet. He is able to shake them off, take his base and move on.

*N* loves to catch and will gladly don the gear and chatter the batter's ear off. It works for him. He is, however, a lefty and I have been informed by people who know more about America's pastime, people like the Husband, that lefties are not catchers as they move up. Not that we're expecting him to play major league ball or anything, but even in high school, righties have an advantage in this position.

Last night *N* got the opportunity he has dreamed of since the start of the season. He got to pitch. And...he hit a kid in the shin. As soon as it happened he was yelling, "I'm sorry," to the hitter, or was it the hittee. This batter did not shake it off. He took a couple steps and then crumpled to the ground. The boy was helped to the bench and pinch runner took his place on first.

*N*, our own ball magnet, felt badly. He wanted to pitch and wants to keep working on it, but pitching is different than when he chases a player down between home and third. (He's small but scrappy and fast.) As the pitcher, he was trying to throw a ball that was in the zone but not something the batter would hit, far different that pitching a wiffle ball to his younger brothers.

Pitching changes depending on who you're pitching to. Parenting is like that too. There isn't one right way to parent each child, even if they're siblings. There is no one best discipline technique or even response to a behavior. Personalities and circumstances can and should inform how we respond. Just like a pitcher will handle a righty or a lefty differently, a parent should have the awareness that each child needs a different type of discipline and reward, too.

There is one major difference between pitching and parenting you're looking for a sweet zone. The difference is, as a parent you and your child are on the same team, you don't want to strike him (or her) out. I don't usually think about life in baseball terms like ahem someone I live with. I guess the season is having an influence. ;)


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