Several years ago, spring was in the air, and I knew it was time to sign my son Lazer up for little league baseball.
It was going to be his first season. Childhood memories flooded back as I ran to Dick’s Sporting Goods and bought baseballs, bats, bases, a batting cage, and two gloves.
Halfway across the parking lot, I realized I'd forgotten a batting glove. I raced back into the store to complete my purchase.
When I returned home, I took all the new gear from the trunk and set it up in the backyard.
This was going to be so awesome I thought!
After that, I went inside to tell Lazer. But he was engrossed in a game of Fortnite and barely looked up. It took some convincing, but eventually, I managed to get him out to the backyard.
Lazer glanced at all the equipment, then without a word, turned around and headed back inside. But I'm not one to give up easily. I believed that with dedication, I could make Lazer fall in love with baseball.
So, every day we practiced, even though he often pleaded with me to stop. I wasn’t a natural at baseball, but from my own experiences, I knew that with hard work, I could excel.
I was confident that once Lazer began practicing with his team, he'd warm up to the sport.
However, after several team practices, his enthusiasm still seemed lacking. Yet, I held onto hope, thinking that the real games might spark his interest.
On opening day, Lazer's coach sent him to right field.
When instructed, Lazer asked, “Where’s right field?”
It might have been during the third or fourth inning, but there he was, idly picking at the grass and playing with the dirt in right field.
At one point, he tossed a handful of dirt into the air, which the wind promptly blew into the stands, sprinkling the parents. It was then that it hit me: this was Lazer’s journey, not mine.
One of the toughest parts of parenthood is understanding that our children are on their own paths. They aren't us. They have their individual lives, interests, and dreams. It's crucial to distinguish between what we want for them and what they genuinely want for themselves.
On our drive home, Lazer mentioned that a friend of his had taken an entrepreneur class, and he was interested in exploring it. Before we even reached our driveway, I'd signed him up using my phone.
Lazer adored the class. He and his team created a company named "Cookie Master," and he was tasked with designing the logo. Seeing his joy and pride in his creation, I realized he was truly on his own journey.
And for those who aren't parents, the lesson still stands.
We all have friends or family members who are carving their own paths, often different from what we envisioned or hoped for them.
It can be hard watching from the sidelines, especially when we think we know what's best. But just as I had to learn with Lazer, it's essential to remember that everyone, whether a child, sibling, or friend, has their own journey to embark upon.
Instead of imposing our dreams on them, we should stand beside them, offering support and understanding.
Everyone deserves the space and freedom to chase after their passions, find their purpose, and create their unique stories.