“I failed Mommy”…The words cut like a knife. My sweet boy had his first strike out in a scrimmage T-Ball game. Several kids struck out. It didn’t seem like a big deal and I certainly was not expecting the tears and the sincere anguish that HJ was feeling. I didn’t know if he even really liked t-ball. Up to that point, there had been a lot of dirt kicking, picking at the grass and gazing at the clouds. But yet, sitting before me was a teary faced 5-year-old, who heard the words “foul ball” in his mind it meant he failed. And when that foul ball was followed by a strike…he for the first time in his young t-ball career, had to walk off the field to the dugout dragging his head, rather than run to first base as he always had before.
I hugged Holden, trying to explain that it was okay. I assured him that he would get another chance to hit the ball next time. I was relieved at how well his coach handled the situation. He told Holden that even Chipper Jones strikes out. Everyone strikes out. He told him that he could come back and try again…and that next time he would do better. HJ wiped his tears, grabbed his glove and ran back out to the field with his team.
Just when I think it is not possible to love my child any more, a moment like this happens. Through his tears, I saw the care and passion in his heart. So while I have been judging his actions on the field for dislike for the sport, the reality is that he is 5. He is entitled to still be unfocused at times. We can’t expect him to always have a good attitude about having 3 practices or games a week. How can we really think that at this age he can channel his passion the way older kids or adults do.
Is T-Ball going to be his thing? I don’t know. But what I do know is that my kid has heart. He cares. And whether it is on the t-ball field, soccer field or in the classroom, he is soaking it all in. He is learning. He is watching his friends, his coaches, his teachers and his Daddy and I and learning from us! I hope we did and will continue to do a good job teaching Holden. Teaching him to have a happy heart. Teaching him to try his best. And teaching him that failure is okay. We all fail. The important part is that we learn from our failures so we can improve.
Not always an easy concept to grasp…no matter our age!