“Do it again.”
The sun slowly crept towards the mountains surrounding the Big Vision Foundation’s baseball fields as Carter stood in the hitting tunnel. Dan, his coach and my good friend, was working on his swing. Carter had other ideas.
“Get lined up and try again.”
I watched Carter’s face as he gradually disengaged. He’s more like me than I realized, I thought. Criticism never goes over well for us both, even if it is constructive.
“Eight more. Make it count.”
After eight more hits, Carter ran off to play with Aiden and I thanked Dan for his time. The question haunted me.
When do you shift from protection to preparation?
As parents, we have natural instincts to protect our children. We build bonds that grow as they do, with the traditional “daddy’s little girls” and “momma’s boys.” Every generation has questioned the efforts of the ones before. With Carter, I’m standing on the edge of the protection and preparation barrier and it’s killing me.
Jesus spent the final three years of his life in active ministry. At one point he tells his followers that he is sending them out like sheep among the wolves. He says to go and make disciples of all the nations. They had a choice here; to listen and go or live in fear and stay behind, meeting in the Upper Room to reminisce. These were wanted individuals, men known for hanging around a criminal inciting rebellion against the Roman government.
They were equipped, empowered, and set free. Every one followed their calling, even to death for their faith.
For every calling includes opposition. That is why we are refined in the first place. We only gain strength through struggle, harmony through hardship, and grace through forgiveness of others and ourselves.
It is okay to struggle.
We are in the midst of a generation that avoids it. Struggle is a bad word. It is not the American Way. We have apps to help our fitness, budget, diet, and lifestyle. We read magazines that promise improvement. We follow motivational speakers and writers making millions because we struggle and want to get out of it as soon as possible and maybe, just maybe, their new book will give us the answers.
For a moment take a breath and give yourself permission.
It is okay to struggle because it is the only way to find peace, real peace that passes all understanding.
Carter will go back and have another lesson next week and we’ll keep at it. Because the cold October nights will pay off when he’s playing baseball years from now and looks back in his memories. I want him to have a well of resiliency, strength, hope and inspiration that he can use when he’s an adult facing down challenges much larger than figuring out the right way to hit a baseball.
So maybe I’m not on the barrier as much as I thought. This fatherhood stuff isn’t easy.
I’m praying I get it right one day.