Earlier this week a coach shared a story with me about a recent experience he had at baseball practice. The team has only been together for a couple of weeks, so the coaches are still getting to know the kids, their strengths and their weaknesses. On top of that, these are boys between the ages of 9 – 12, so developmentally they are all over the map. Many of the boys are trying to learn how to coordinate their big feet and lanky bodies. As you can imagine, all these things put together can make it difficult to pinpoint the best way to coach the boy to help him improve his skills. A couple of the boys have been struggling to hit the ball. In talking to one boy, the coach discovered he had just gotten a new pair of glasses and didn’t want to wear them during the game in case they got broken. The coach asked if he still had his old glasses and if he could see using the old glasses. The boy sheepishly admitted yes to both. The coach made a deal with the boy that if he wore the glasses and got a hit in the next game, the coach would give him a prize. The boy agreed and I’m sure he will approach every at bat with a little more focus so that he can win the prize. A short time later, the coach was watching another boy when he noticed the boy was hesitating every time he swung the bat. He called the boy over and realized the bat he was using was longer and heavier than the other boy’s bats. He switched the bat he was using and sent him back to the batter’s box. The boy swung at the first pitch and sent it into the outfield. Pitch after pitch he connected. The boy started smiling from ear to ear. His body language completely changed, he stood taller, he was more confident and was having a lot more fun, all because of a small change in equipment.
These examples make me wonder, how many times are we showing up with the wrong equipment? Life is so busy, it’s easy to get into a routine and just grind it out in the same way every day. Or we may know something we are doing is not working, but we figure it’s too difficult to stop long enough to change, so like the boy above, we just continue to use a bat that’s too heavy. The “equipment” we use daily could be tied to our schedule and our time management skills. Are we overloading ourselves with things to do because we struggle to say no? Or do we take on too much because we feel we are supposed to do all these things? What would happen if we re-evaluated the way we think about how we spend our time.
Or maybe the “equipment” you are using in a situation is not equipment at all, maybe it’s your mindset. Do we ever stop to think “why do I think that?” or “where did that belief come from?” We can easily get a thought stuck in our head and accept “this is just the way it is”, but is it possible we would see things differently, if like the boy above, we put on glasses, to examine why we think that? Or what if we looked at it from a different perspective? If a situation seems hard, are we slowing down long enough to see what we can do to improve? Or have we resigned ourselves to the fact “life is hard”, this is the hand we were dealt?
I realize asking these questions won’t heal sickness or help you pay off your credit card, but you can look at your approach to the situations that are challenging you. Examine the skills you are using; do you need to learn more by researching or asking for help from a professional. Or it is a case where by changing your “equipment” you would see a shift? In our frantic day to day life, it’s easy to forget there is always room for improvement. You never know how one little shift, one change in the bat you’re using, could set everything else in motion. Soon you too could be smiling from ear to ear.
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I started writing this blog because I wanted to have deeper conversations beyond "How are you?", "Busy", with other parents. Over the years I've shared personal stories, articles, authors and topics to facilitate conversations with parents about the joys and the challenges of parenting.