Tuesday, July 31, 2012

You Didn't Do That

Imagine a young man who has worked hard to be a great baseball player.  He is 12 years old and wants to be a professional player when he grows up.  He has spent hours doing lots of extra practice, listened well to his coaches, read books about the lives of great baseball players such as Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle.  All of his energy is spent in learning the sport; how to run, steal bases, hit the ball and throw it accurately.  He works hard to make the All-Star Team in his local Little League and today he has hit his first home run.  He is very proud of himself and can’t help but express his excitement and enthusiasm to his father.  On the way home from the game, he tells his father that he has a good chance of making the All-Star Team.  The father explodes and tells his son:

“There are a lot of good ball players who don’t think they are that good. They know they didn't — look, if you've hit a home run, you didn't do it on your own. You didn't get there on your own. I'm always struck by people like you who think, 'Well, it must be because I was just so smart.' There are a lot of smart people out there. 'It must be because I worked harder than everybody else.' Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.

"If you hit a home run, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great coach somewhere in your life. Somebody helped create this sport for you to play. Somebody invested in ball parks and spectator stands. If you've hit a home run, you didn't do that on your own. Somebody else made that happen. "

What kind of father would say that to his son?  What kind of father would destroy that young man’s joy and excitement by putting him down like that?  Is there any justice in that statement, any appreciation for the effort and dedication that it took that young man to be able to hit the ball that far?  In the face of such an attack, would that young man try harder in the future, knowing that at the end of the day, he will be ridiculed for his effort? 

That father has killed this young man’s joy and love of accomplishment.

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