Why I Let My Son Draw in the Dirt at His T-Ball Game Tuesday, June 16th, 2015
This is my son. He is five years old. He loves Legos, pretending to be any form of super hero, and whatever “screen time” I will allow him. He sleeps with a special blanket. He would eat his weight in sweets if I were to let him, and he loves Jesus like a friend.
This is my son’s first year to play t-ball.
And that means? At the beginning of the season, he had absolutely no idea what was happening. He stood where he was told. He threw the ball where he was told. He ran where he was told.
Beyond that? He enjoyed drawing in the dirt and the snacks after the game.
During practice, I didn’t worry too much about his lack of understanding. But during practice, (like some of the other parents,) I would shout little encouraging comments from the sidelines.
“You’re doing great, baby!”
“Stop talking to your friends and listen to your coach, honey!”
“Drop the bat before you start running, sweetheart!”
The good news is… most of the other players (who had never played t-ball before) had absolutely no clue what was happening out there either.
This was no fault of the coaches, or the parents, or even the players… this was on account of the fact that they are 5 years old, and baseball has more rules to remember than inches that these kids have grown.
I remembered this when it was time for the first official game.
“Now the most important thing is to just have fun and to try your best!”
But five minutes into the game, I didn’t see the makings of an all-star. As a matter of fact, I looked up, and my son was the only one on the field bent down … drawing in the dirt again.
“Baby! Stand up! This isn’t the time for that! You’re not here to draw. You’re here to play, sweetheart!”
I wasn’t angry. I didn’t sound mad. I sounded encouraging… I sounded like I loved him. At least, I thought that is what love would say.`
But just a few minutes later, as the second hitter was rounding first, there my son was again, finger in the dirt – doodling.
And I wanted to holler out to him again. I wanted to tell him to stand up. To pay attention. To do what he was there to do…
But it was then that I heard the Lord say to me, “I drew in the dirt once too.”
And it was as if, I could picture Jesus out in the middle of the field bent down low next to my son tracing out the lines for my son to follow – side by side – teaching me about grace.
My heart grew, and my eyes teared, and I caught myself in that moment. I whispered a quiet, “Oh. I see, Lord.”
Because He was reminding me of the time when a woman was caught breaking the law, and leaders brought her to Jesus. They asked Him what He said should be done to her while they held rocks in their hands prepared to stone her.
And instead of answering with wrath, Jesus stopped, stooped and started to draw in the dirt.
As the woman’s accusers began to leave, He looked her in the eyes. He told her to go and sin no more. He showed her mercy, and you know?
That one encounter with love changed her life forever.
Not the threat of the stones. Not the shouts from the crowd. Not the exposure of the act.
Her encounter with mercy made a way for a lifetime of healing.
He’s just five years old out there. He’s just a little boy with thousands and thousands of days left in his story… but as He bent low? As He drew in the dirt?
He reminded me that it is not just the attitude that I should have about t-ball.
It is about deciding to parent in a way similar to how Jesus loves me. It is about choosing to remember that in order to make my son great, I must not make him feel small.
So, I didn’t shout. I didn’t tell him to stand up. I didn’t embarrass or make-fun of him or yell.
I just watched as Jesus and my little boy traced out the lines of mercy for me to follow. And I remembered that in order to raise greatness, I must be take on the position of grace.
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