Scoot up....a tip for dads playing catch, or anyone who wants to be a better leader.
We, like you, are currently stuck at home, or safe at home, or on lockdown...however you are viewing it at the present moment. One of the many blessings in this for me has been more time with my sons. Yesterday, we actually got to go outside and play catch with a football. The activity I had dreamed about since learning that I was going to be a father! I had played this “hallmark moment” through in my head and just knew how amazing, special, and memorable this was going to be. Imagine my surprise when we started to play that it could best and most delicately be described as annabsolute cluster....well you get the idea.
My son keep throwing the ball at seemingly random targets and skud missle like projections, a wobbly end over end affair that had no clue where it was landing, only that it would be no where near its intended receiver. Catching was not possible even if we replaced the ball with a jar of “inside out” peanut butter, or a ball of sweaters and my beloved son was wearing Velcro mittens. While I was despairing and calculating all the money I would have to pony up for college, because a football scholarship was clearly off the table, I got embarrassed. Really, really embarrassed.
Here I was wasting the most valuable time in the world...my son’s time. My expectations, my hopes, my judgement are not important, in fact they are irrelevant. What matters is how my son feels, how he is enjoying this moment, and how he will reflect on it 20 years from now. Will he remember if we were 30 yards apart, or three? Will he care? Does it matter who is “the best” at playing catch?
You know the answer already and so did I. So I decided to simply step up, literally and as a father. I got close enough for him to throw it to me, threw soft enough that he couldn’t miss. He was then able to get some small wins, to gain some confidence....and we were actually able to spend some quality time with each other. He relaxed and started to enjoy getting the ball to me, I relaxed and was able to remember why I was out there. Pretty soon he was asking me to move back. “Ok every time you complete a pass, I move back.” It took about five minutes for us to make it farther apart than we had when we started and for him to make some really great passes and catches. For me to realize he was much more skilled than I thought, especially without the weight of my expectations.
We had an evening I hope to never forget, not just for the time we shared, but for the lesson he taught me.
5 ways to step up as a dad today:
1) Set up small wins for yourself today.
2) Set up small wins for your kids.
3) Remove all your distractions when you are with your kids.
4) Pause, and just be in the moment.
5) Smile, and enjoy the little moments. 99% of your life is made up of little moments.