I want to share a very quick story with you. This story perfectly illustrates how my two children not only teach me life lessons everyday, they help me become a better person.
Last night Jim, Brad and I went to see a local minor league baseball game. It had been raining and we weren’t even sure the game would get played. Luckily, it did. During the first couple of innings we sat in the drizzle of rain, Brad and I sharing an umbrella while Jim decided he was fine without anything other than his hat.
As most 9 year old boys do, Brad REALLY wanted a foul ball. We were sitting behind the netting behind homeplate and would not be getting a foul ball. Not too long after we sat down, the usher that had wiped the rain out of our seats came past us, walked over to the dug out and said something to the ball boy. The ball boy proceeded to hand over 2 baseballs. As the usher walked past, I asked him what the secret was. He smiled and said it helps to work there. He also mentioned he gives them to kids in his section. Wait. Aren’t WE in his section? I look around. There are literally 4 kids in his section. The rain has kept most at bay tonight.
So I told Brad to go over and ask for a ball. After much prodding over the course of an inning or two, he finally did. IMMEDIATELY, that same usher came down and told him he needed to return to his seat and that those bat boys were working and he was disturbing them. Well! Being the Mama Bear that I am, I was…..let’s say, a little unhappy. I didn’t say anything to Brad, but in my mind I was saying a few words.
By the 7th inning, it is apparent the home team isn’t going to win, but thankfully it isn’t raining and it is an enjoyable night to watch some ball. Also in the 7th inning, the very same usher comes down to Brad and asks him if he really wants a baseball. Brad says, “Yes sir.” The usher prods him a little more. “Are you sure you do?” “Yes sir.”
From his tattered, red vest pocket he produces the elusive baseball that lights up my son’s face. “Since you really want one. I like to give them to kids that really want a ball.”
I make sure Brad tells him “thank you.” Then I thank him myself and I let him know the little boy sitting behind us really would like a ball too. Sure enough, the usher walks over to the dugout, waits a moment and gets the other boy a ball too.
This is all confusing. Instead of switching my thoughts, I try to figure out his motives and why he had a huge change of heart. It was nice, but why?. I am learning just how cynical I am. Much to my dismay. First impressions are the hardest to change.
Fast forward to our 20 minute ride home. It is late and dark. I am lost in my own thoughts planning for the next day at work. Out of the blue Brad sets me straight.
“I know why that man told me not to ask for a ball.”
“Oh really? Why?”
“He had planned all along to give me one. He just wanted to surprise me. He waited until almost the end of the game and then he wanted to make sure I got one from him. He knew he was going to give it to me when he told me not to ask for one. You noticed he didn’t tell anyone else that came over to leave the bat boys alone?”
“Yes, I had noticed that.” (and had sat steaming in my seat)
“He is a nice man. He wanted to give me the ball himself.”
So, I continue driving, letting his thoughts, his simple way of seeing the glass IS half full sink into my mind.
And again, I am ashamed. I am ashamed that I preach everyday to my children to be positive and to not judge others and to let things go. But I am guilty of not practicing what I preach.
Thank you Brad for teaching me.