Last night, I had a moment that I knew would come. I just didn’t want it to come this soon. My son has been playing little league T-ball for several weeks. It has been running smoothly. Everyone got on base. Everyone hit and nobody got out. Little Man understood the rules and played hard.
Yesterday, the rules changed. The team we were playing against wanted to call outs. Mind you this is an five and under league. So my son made it to first base on his hit. He knew he needed to run to second base. He started before the ball was hit so he was sent back to first base. The ball was hit and he didn’t run. The other team threw the ball to second base before Little Man made it there. The other team’s coach told him he was out and had to get off the field. He pulled his hat over his face and slowly walked off the field. He was crying.
Good, bad or ugly. I got out of my seat and scooped my son up and held him. We talked that he could still play and that things like this happen. My son got back out there when it was his turn to take the field and finished the game strong. On the way home, he continued to ask why he had to get off of the field. As we ate our second supper, little man and I worked through the new rules of T-ball.
Here’s what I learned:
- Rules change. As parents, coaches and teachers, we need to make sure every kid knows the rules. I spent most of this past school year working with students, who did not know the rules or knew the rules, but lacked the skills necessary to follow them. I came to realize kids want to join the game called school, but don’t know enough to be successful. I hope the tools I equipped my kids with this year will allow them to be more successful. When the rules suddenly change, then it is our job as parents, teachers and coaches to teach them how to handle changes.
- Be aware of what your language actually says not what you think says. This mamma bear did go talk to the coach of the other team. I stayed calm, but asked her to realize that she greatly upset my son. She apologized. I believe that she was not trying to be mean to my son, but my son heard that he could not play anymore. So often when we talk at children, they do not understand what was being said. Connection is key. I don’t believe my son would have lost it if his coaches would have told him.
- Spend the time to talk. Yes my son went to bed late because of our conversation. It was so worth it. The time we talked will make him know that I value and love him. This also has to happen in school as well. It becomes so easy not to have the conversation about what happened and the next steps. When we do this, it pays dividends.
Hopefully, the next time the rules change he will not cry, but instead look to a trusted adult to ask why.