Pass on What Brings You Passion and Share That With Your Kids
For the past nine days, I have volunteered countless hours at the College World Series as a way to fundraise for Number 4 and his dance team. As a parent this is a wonderful opportunity to support my child, and I work all the shifts I can get; however I do get a little cranky after 10-plus hour shifts and my knees don’t like the concrete for that long either
During one of our much-needed breaks, I sat in the stands munching on dinner and watching the on-field activities. I marveled as the ground crew dragged the infield, and drew the baselines. I observed the players stretching in the outfield, and then a caught a glimpse of a dad tossing the ball to his young son. First I thought how did they get on the field, and then I saw the dad’s all access badge. I turned my attention from the ground crew to the interaction between son and father.
I remember those days with my dad playing catch in the street in front of the house, seeing my parents watch me play at countless games, and then my dad and I watching our favorite team, the Cubs, on TV and hoping that would be our year. I have fond memories of attending my first game at Wrigley Field, walking up the steps seeing the green-ivy outfield for the first time. My dad was passionate about baseball and happily shared that with me. My love of baseball started from his love of the game, and is with me still today.
When my kids were young, they all played softball/baseball because I wanted them to love it as much as I did. Number 1, Number 2 and Number 4 played for a couple of years but I could tell that wouldn’t be their favorite sport. Number 3 played a while longer and I enjoyed our bonding over the sport. We played catch in the backyard and I attended all of his games that I could, either as a coach, a scorekeeper, a photographer or just as a supportive dad. Playing baseball ended for him last summer and although I was a little disappointed, he didn’t have the same passion about it either.
It’s ok that my kids aren’t passionate about the same things that I am. It is important though to have my kids experience those things that bring me joy so they get to know me better. Since that revelation a couple years ago, thanks to my wife and a fundraising dinner, I was able to take my kids to their first Cubs game. (My wife bid on the Cubs tickets as a way to surprise me, and then said take your children to see and experience what you love so that they see what gives you joy.)
Their reactions to entering Wrigley for the first time were very similar to mine. For me it was kind of like taking your kids to Disney for the first time, and seeing the look of awe on their faces. It was priceless. I took the time to answer every question they had. We hit all the food booths close to our seats. We bought souvenirs, and I taught Number 2 to keep a scorebook. My kids still talk about that adventure with their dad and want to go again.
We spend the majority of our time involved in those things that our kids love and that is the way it is suppose to be. Once in a while though, I have come to appreciate involving the kids in something that I love, and encourage you to do the same. At my wife’s coaxing I actually spoke to the kids about my passion for the game and Wrigley Field, and the childhood memories from my first visit.; AND I included them in my joy when I took them to the game.
My wife has always been supportive of giving me time to be me and doing what I enjoy. In the past, I looked at the ballpark as my thing, my happy place. I came across this anonymous quote that captures the essence of sharing my happy place with the kids.
"..in the End, all that really matters isn't the things you did, but what its effects are today, not the knowledge you have learned, but how you applied it, not the words that were said, but how they made you feel, and most of all, not the moment of occurrence, but how its now just a part of our memory.. Everyday, we make memories.. Let's paint lives with happy ones.."
I would add to that quote: Let’s share those moments with out loved ones so they can see and experience what brings you joy and learn to find their own happy place. For my kids, it may not be Wrigley Field, but my hope is that by sharing my passion with them, I have encouraged them to find a hobby, activity or pastime that is something that brings them joy in life.