Of Baseball And Bentleys

Warning: this is a post about parenting. Shepherding, really, is a word that I prefer as “parenting” has been used to describe anything and everything that an individual deems helpful/useful, basically any interaction between a parent and a child is considered parenting and… right. So, I suppose I’ll abandon that word.

On Saturday, we took Ezra to the park. Josh has played catch with him before, but he’s never taught him how to hit. Possibly because Ezra’s five. Anyway, Saturday, we took his bat and ball and took to the GORGEOUS day. It took about four tries before he ever hit the ball. The amazing thing was that I learned a lot about his character. When his father told him to hold the bat a certain way, to stand a certain way and watch the ball – things he didn’t tell him immediately … hey, he’s never played baseball with a five year old, I assumed he sort of forgot that you start knowing absolutely nothing – Ezra hit a stride and hit it almost every time after that. I was pretty amazed at his learning curve.

One of the teaching moments that happened that day, though, occurred before he hit his stride. He got very discouraged and I could see that he was starting to tear up. He kept having to go retrieve the ball from behind him and basically was getting no pay off. He thought this game was going to be fun! I called him over and asked what the problem was – which of course was…he didn’t like feeling like he didn’t know what he was doing. (Pretty sure every adult can sympathize.) I told him I understood why he felt that way, but that he should continue to try – then I reminded him that nine months ago, he didn’t speak French. When he started attending French school, he didn’t understand what people were saying. The most exciting part of life is that we’re not born with information already installed. If we want to do something new, we get to learn something new. It’s what makes life stimulating and it’s through those adventures that we find out what is important to us and what we want to do with our lives. I was so proud of him for listening and then returning to playing baseball with his dad (for hours).

When I got home, I saw a headline about P.Diddy spending $360,000 on a car for his 16-year old son. Apparently, people had strong reactions to that information. On the one hand, my thought was, “That’s…none of my business.” On the other hand, if I remove the names and think of it as “a father” (as in, any father) did this for his son, it does make me sad. Everyone says money is relative, “expensive” is relative, but that’s not true or relevant to this scenario. A lot of people holding strong opinions may have felt it was gratuitous and proud in such an economic time as the one facing the US. It may have been that their own financial woes influenced their thoughts. I can’t say – I didn’t read the article. But, when I think of what I want for my child, I can’t think of any justification, regardless of my income.

As a parent, I don’t want to remove the tension that will build my son’s character and reveal his purpose. The things he doesn’t know, the questions that will face him – I have no interest in and he gains nothing from my interrupting what should be an invaluable process. Our desires reveal our hearts, what we hold dear and how we are willing to proceed to get what we want. You learn so much from desire – even when the end result is not attaining what you first wanted. Oftentimes, through the process of focusing on and seeking a desire, we are changed. We’re led to the very purpose of our lives. God has beautifully instilled desires that should draw us closer to Him, in dependence and reverence. I wouldn’t refrain from buying my son a $360,000 car because the car is expensive and he will almost certainly not be prepared for that sort of responsibility. I would refrain because I am telling my son – at 16 – that his desires are satisfied on a whim, immediately. He need not sit with them, feel longing, determine their value. In this way, I am removing all of the opportunities for my son to develop a purpose, a goal, a character, a spiritual center. I am circumventing a system that God lovingly and omnisciently put into place that allows him to be stimulated and engaged and curious and driven about the world around him.

Does that one act do that? I don’t know – I doubt it. But it doesn’t bode well, let’s put it that way.

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10 thoughts on “Of Baseball And Bentleys

  1. I think a very important thing you bring up here is the multi-influential impact that the purchase of a luxury item for a child has. My reflex judgment was just what you addressed in your post: the expense of the car is relative to income. However, this is a very surface and superficial way to analyze the many ways in which such an act will alter the life experiences and cognition of the individual child. This is actually what my bible study was about today: ultimate desires can never be satisfied by lesser things. And it is through trial that we discover such things. God has the power to give us anything we foolishly desire, but thank heaven he is a wise God. This is not to say that the car will prevent the boy from having trials, it won’t. But it sets him up for perspectives on life that require greater correction in the end, perspectives that could have been taught by the parent with less cost to the child.

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    • I think people simply refer to exorbitant spending as “spoiling a child”, as though they will be bratty and not understand the value of money. While those are regrettable consequences, they certainly aren’t what I’m most concerned with. There is a way, I’m sure, to give your child quite expensive things without destroying them spiritually.

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  2. But maybe if he wants a million dollar diamond encrusted Hummer…maybe THEN he has to wait a couple months and do some chores for it. Like uh, cleaning money or something.

    PS: Kids are awesome.

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  3. I won’t cast judgment on P. Diddy because I’m not privy to his life, thoughts or motive. I don’t know his whole story; only God knows that–and for all we know He will be forgiving and offer more blessing to those who don’t seem to know better than to those of us who know the right path and keep to it. God’s judgment may not be as harsh as man’s. who’s to know if Diddy’s spoilt son would turn out to be all God wants him to be? Some people find clarity and righteousness in the midst of devilish abuse. Others turn to evil despite a godly upbringing.

    I think children imitate those they look up to and trust. That’s why I’m humble and unjudgmental in spite of the good fortune the Lord has allowed me to have. My son sees who I am in spite of the expensive (safe and comfortable) vehicles my husband and I are fortunate to drive. I’m as imperfect as the next guy so I work on my own flaws and leave all judgments to our perfect God.

    judgments can be hurtful. people often get malicious, treating their assumption as The Truth.
    The truth is, the more money you have the more people question your character, your possessions, your spirituality; the more enemies-by-proxy you have–people who heard other people’s assumptions about you and thus think they know you.

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    • This is a somewhat generally applicable statement, as opposed to a reply, because it comes up *constantly*.

      I’ve found that “judgmental” is – in many cases – an accusation meant to dissuade someone from doing just what the Bible said to do: judging a man, an act by his fruits.

      If we know the difference between ourselves and a perfect God, we don’t have to overstate the fact that our “judgment” does not refer to an eternal destiny, it refers to our having been *informed* by someone’s deeds/character/etc. Therefore, one can look at someone’s decision and conclude whether it is wise or not. Particularly because God has given us a blueprint and isn’t bipolar. He calls us to live a certain way and makes assurances – we don’t have to worry that He’s going to suddenly find unrighteousness as/more favorable. Otherwise, He’s not God, right?

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  4. Right.

    I agree but not completely.

    I’ve found that “judgmental” is – in many cases – an accusation meant to dissuade someone from doing just what the Bible said to do: judging a man, an act by his fruits.

    Is that what the Bible really says to do?

    Read Luke 6:37-41

    after that (42-430 comes the passage you refer to, when He talks of a tree and it’s fruit, but you take it out of context.

    I’m not sure we are always as iNformed as we think we are in regard to people we don’t know personally; i.e., when we must rely on hearsay in order to form our opinion. For instance, do we know for sure that Diddy bought this car for his son? could the car (most likely a lease) have been a promotional freebie from the car dealer? Did he give it to the kid or did he make it available for the kid’s use with certain conditions?

    How can we really say that we have been informed enough by someone’s decision and conclude whether it is wise or not? Even Christ was accused of bad acts based on actions considered unwise by the scriptures of his day. Mark 2:23-27

    And also because we are not perfect, our “wisdom” could be corrupted by envy, subconscious hatred, prejudice, racism, etc. We think we understand God, but we can only comprehend in the capacity of our humanity

    All I’m saying is what Jesus said on the Mount of Olives. (John 8) …If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone…

    Good things are always in my heart.(Luke 6:45) And so my fruit will also be good, learning by my example. In fact, at thirteen, he’s already turning the other cheek when attacked verbally by misguided peers who consider him weak because he is generous and kind to the “unhip/uncool” kids in his class. He socializes with everyone. he will never be a bully, especially not as an adult. (I only encounteredand experience bullies as an adult! These are generally people who think God is a superstition, but they can also be religious folk akin to Pharisees. In which case the wise move is to avoid them if you want to be happy and not be crucified. lolbci. (laughing out loud but crying inside))

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  5. john 42 to 43. don’t know how that emoticon came up.

    forgive typos. Trying to rush. Today’s our Wedding Anniversary and we took the day off. Why am I on the internet???

    Have a good day.

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    • This is what I’m talking about. Throwing stones was literally a way of putting someone to death. As in judgment unto deciding whether he lived or died. That’s absolutely not what it means to judge a man by his fruit.

      The fact that I’m not referring to Diddy, as I said when I removed his name from my commentary, answers the part about being judging a stranger. Although he already “defended” his purchase, meaning he verified it himself. Though not about him specifically, the thoughts were definitely sparked by the ensuing internet chaos.

      Awesome emoticon, lol!

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