I am pretty sure that there is not a single adult that did not try and test the limits put in place by their parents. That must be something God puts in us at birth. To go even a little bit further in my assumption, I am betting we all get an equal amount of the stuff. Some of us use what we are given and that’s it, while others cultivate it and make it grow into something intolerable by those in charge of us.
Admittedly, I would have to say I cultivated my share and got better as I grew older. There were many things I was a part of. Some were the very normal things most kids do, while others may have been considered over the top. Each and every time I made these over-the-top decisions; I had the fear of my dad in my mind.
There were, however, many unspoken things I could never bring myself to try, including but not limited to tearing up another person’s property, stealing, disrespecting an adult, disagreeing with an adult, drawing attention to myself, and using foul language in front of an adult (in front of other kids was OK). This sounds like a disclaimer on a medicine bottle. There were so many other things that seemed acceptable, but the ones mentioned above were just ones we all knew better than to even try. It was very much like the line in the best baseball movie ever, “The Sandlot”. Things got so bad that one of the boys told another that he, “played ball like a girl!” It just would never happen.
Have you ever noticed that when we get to our 40s, we somehow acquire a special license that allows us to see the shortcomings in minors? Our children are grown or mostly grown, and the fantastic job that we did allows us the special skills needed for this position. We can see things that these minors’ parents can’t see. We not only see the infractions, but we can always seem to come up with a very quick solution to repair the problem. I have no idea why, but we never go back to how we resolved an issue, we go back to how our parents just clobbered us into submission.
Is this statement true, that kids today are so much more well-behaved and respectable to adults than they were, say, one, two or three generations ago? Or, do parents today have a much better handle on teaching their children than in generations past?
We all see things regardless of our age in not only children, but adults as well, that would never have been tolerated years ago. Our society has many written and unwritten rules in place as to what is acceptable behavior. It just seems that we have been a little lax over the years on many of them. It’s OK to argue with your children or your spouse in public. It’s OK to take the parking spot next to the door that was once saved for the elderly or physically impaired. It’s OK to be rude or even mean to the waitress or anyone providing a service for you. I am sure there are many more, but I would hope you get my point.
But, there are still many good things that happen right here in our community each day that shows us all there is still much good in our world. Things that we need to celebrate. I had one of those moments at Shafer Park in Hillsboro.
My wife, Mary Jean, and I were there watching a couple of our grandkids play what is now called “fall ball.” In one of the games, our grandson Cam’s team was losing by several runs. It wasn’t even a fun game for anyone to watch. Winning or losing by a large margin is not a game that goes quickly. In Cam’s defense, almost the entire other team was huge. These smaller kids were way past intimidated by their size. But such is life. Some kids grow faster and bigger than others. These kids were just plain outmatched in every possible way.
In about the fifth inning, when what looked like Babe Ruth from the opposing team was at the plate, you could just tell by his stance that if he connected, the ball would never be found. The pitcher was, I am sure, scared to death knowing that his pitches were slower than what “The Babe” was used to. However, as the real Babe did several times, he struck out.
What happened next was amazing to me. The batter’s reaction to his recent strikeout was more than he could bear. He was furious, but only at himself. He took the walk of shame back to the dugout and on his way took off his helmet and threw it at his coach’s feet. At the time, I had no idea who the coach or the player was. Immediately, my blood boiled from what I witnessed. I just had to see how this played out.
The coach, whom I learned was The Babe’s father, had a small and very quick meeting on the field with his player. Coach kicked the helmet about 10 feet away and told the batter to go and pick it up. There was no profanity or yelling or any considerable fanfare, but it was handled and handled with dignity on both parts. I am sure that lesson from his father will remain with him for the rest of his life.
Not that the coach needed my approval, but I felt I needed to tell him how proud I was of how he handled the situation, but I could never find the right moment. We had to leave before the game was over. I felt that was just another missed opportunity. But on the way out, I ran into the coach’s father, who just happened to be my baseball coach in high school.
Let’s just say the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.
You were a great teacher in so many ways Mr. Fred Yochum. Your legacy has traveled at least three generations that I know of.
Randy Butler is a lifelong resident of Highland County and a licensed real estate agent for Classic Real Estate in Hillsboro.