Parenting fail…we skipped a step.
My daughters, in the 3rd and 5th grades, just signed up for softball. They have never played before.
Most of their teammates have been playing for 3+ years already, in T-Ball and Rookie leagues. I only realized this once we had the pre-season meeting with the coach, and I learned that the other parents had all been there for the previous few years.
So this past week I set about trying to get my girls up to speed on the basics – catching the ball in a mitt and throwing it back to me.
I suggested we start out playing catch with a tennis ball, so that it wasn’t so painful if the ball hit them, but they insisted we start with the real deal because that is what the neighbor kids use.
You can see where this is going…
Let me first say that they are both progressing very well, and they don’t totally hate me now, but our first practice sessions had mixed results.
I don’t know how it happens, but it seems like just when things start going well, the ball (which is not soft by the way), manages to bounce off their mitt and hit them in the face.
I try my best to keep this from happening, but it does, and the look they give me when this happens is one of pure betrayal, as if I am the worst Dad on the planet.
“Sorry, kiddo,” I’ll say. “I didn’t mean to throw the ball at your face. Maybe we should go back to the tennis ball?”
By skipping that important first step, we had to deal with unnecessary pain and our progress was hindered because then we’d have to go inside so that one of my daughters could put an Ice-Pack on her face.
I’ve made similar mistakes numerous times when attempting jogging/running. I don’t enjoy running for exercise, so I rarely do it. But sometimes I start feeling the extra weight around my middle, get irritated, and decide to go for a quick run.
The problem is that I run so infrequently that my body is never really prepared for it. Because it’s the first run, I feel pretty good, and go faster and longer than I know I should. This leaves me sore and fairly immobile for the next week, blowing up my exercise plan, and likely resulting in more weight around my belly.
If I could just start off jogging short distances at slower speeds, I could run every day. I could build up to farther distances and speeds much faster if I didn’t skip the fundamental first steps.
I see a similar scene play out in my line of work all the time.
Homeowners and real estate agents are too eager to get the home on the market, so they miss an important step that ends up causing the homeowner weeks, months, and thousands of dollars less than what they should have got for their home.
A few weeks ago, I made a proposal to a homeowner that would help them maximize the profits from their home, with a detailed game plan of the next steps to achieve their desired outcome.
A week later, I got a call from the owner saying he was going to list with his previous Realtor who is a close friend. Even though the Realtor failed to sell it last year, he decided to give him one more shot.
Not a big deal for me, just like it’s not a big deal to your doctor if you go with someone different. Your doctor has plenty of people to help.
But I fear it will be a big deal for this homeowner.
I just saw the property listed online, and I can see this homeowner is going to take some unnecessary and costly hits trying to sell his home again, because they are making the same mistakes as last time.
Skipping fundamental steps because you are excited or in a hurry can cost you more pain and ultimately slow you down.
I’m happy to report that after taking some painful hits, my daughters were convinced to take a step back to work on some fundamentals of catching with a softer ball.
When we removed the fear of being hurt, they progressed much faster. They have their confidence back and now catch the ball just as well as their teammates.
Plus, they like me again.
At least for now.
They’ll soon be teenagers.
Until next time,