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I'm a 30-something wife and mom. My boys are my pride and joy. Together, we are navigating being a forever family post international adoption.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Baseball, Commitment and Understanding Consequences

Buddy signed up for lunchtime intramural baseball this year and things had been going fine. Sometimes they won, sometimes they lost. They had a tournament that was fun. It clearly isn't Buddy's favorite sport but he also doesn't hate it.

Last week, I was sitting outside enjoying a warm, sunny evening. Buddy came out of the house to sit with me and we were chatting about our days. I asked Buddy if there was still baseball or if it was done for the year.

"They're still playing, but not me. I missed a game and Mr. Black told me I couldn't come back."

Great.

We talked about it a bit, and the story according to Buddy was he forgot he had baseball and was playing with his friends over the lunch hour. He didn't notice the game going on until it was almost over. When he went to the field, he was told by his teacher he was off the team for missing.

This story sound like it doesn't add up to anyone else? Because it sure didn't sound like the whole truth to me.

At the same time, I was worried that Buddy was kicked off the team permanently. Regardless of what he had done, I questioned the appropriateness of the consequence for a kid with abandonment issues.

I asked Buddy how it made him feel to be told he couldn't play any more. He said it made him feel nothing, then got up and walked to the other side of our yard. I said that if it was me, I would probably have felt embarrassed. That I don't like to be wrong and when people point out when I am I don't like it, especially if other people are around. He nodded and we left it at that.

Hubby contacted the school and had a conversation with Mr. Black the next day. His story was a little different and more believable. Buddy didn't want to stay around the diamond at lunch time and chose not to play baseball that day.  Mr. Black said he generally doesn't punish kids for missing a game, but the difference was that Buddy "was right there and chose not to play."  He made a commitment to the team which he didn't honor and commitments are important, so Mr. Black gave Buddy a one-game suspension.  He was welcome to come back and play the next game after that.

Hubby told Mr. Black that Buddy didn't seem to understand the reason why couldn't play baseball, other than that he simply missed the game. Buddy didn't get the lesson Mr. Black was trying to teach. Hubby reminded Mr. Black that when bad things happen, Buddy withdraws and avoids focusing on the event and that we've found it's important to be really clear about what consequences are imposed and why.

Mr. Black wasn't defensive, he said he would follow up with Buddy. He thought Buddy understood but realized he clearly must not have.  We were all on the same page.

So, after his one-game suspension, Buddy returned for the final game. They may have lost in the playoffs, but I hope Buddy gained more than just a title from his time on the team.

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