I took the kids to a baseball game today and they tried to get autographs from the minor league players but A only got one. M didn’t get any. One of the security guards told everyone to try again after the game.
My kids were bummed but I told them not to worry. We’d try again after the game and if we don’t get any more today, that’s alright. We would be back for at least one or two more games before the end of the season.
Like any teacher or parent, I want my children to be prepared for disappointment because IT WILL HAPPEN. Not only do they need to feel it, they need to know how to cope with it.
Last week I subbed for a first grade class a couple of times. There were a couple of boys in the class who, I will later learn that they’re younger than everyone else in the class, did not know how to cope with any negative feelings. If they didn’t get chosen to be first to say an answer or if they lost a spelling game, they threw temper tantrums. Yes, actual tantrums as in crossing their arms and sitting under their desk or even throwing down their sweater and stomping!
Now one of the few drawbacks in being a sub is that I don’t have the chance to get to really know the children I sub for. I don’t know, for instance, what would have been the best way to handle the situation for each particular kid or if there was even anything I could have done to be proactive. I don’t know.
After the game, the kids and I sprinted to the edge of the seating area. I showed them how to hold out their brand new baseball and new pen in the shape of a bat, waving it around to get their attention but not being obnoxious about it. But we were standing next to a mom that was.
The Sacramento Rivercats lost 10-2 and some of the fans were saying that they don’t give out autographs when they lose. I understand that; who would? For us to even be out there to AT LEAST TRY for autographs was still pretty cool. Autographs aren’t required by management. But that mom didn’t get it.
She was full on yelling at the players when they walked by, “Hey! Come and sign some autographs! These kids come out here to support you! Show them some good sportsmanship!”
I wanted to put my hands up to separate my family from her and shout out, “These views do not reflect all moms out here!” but I didn’t. I didn’t say a word. Time and place, I told myself. Time and place.
When she finally left with her boys, a guy standing next to me said, “Geez, what’s her problem?”
I just shook my head.
After she left, two players came out of the dugout (I don’t blame them for waiting) and signed EVERYONE’S souvenir. I noticed they did it wordlessly but I told the older two (the little one opted not to do the autograph thing) that they had to ASK for an autograph, say PLEASE, and say THANK YOU afterward.
M asked the first player, Wesley Timmons, “Can I have your autograph?” The baseball player laughed and said, “Do you want my name or yours?” M thought about it and then said, “Yours.” The player smiled and said, “Here you go.” M said, “Thank you!”
A asked the second player, Michael Taylor, “Can I have your autograph?” and the conversation went the same way. Actual conversation with the kids. Connecting through love of the game.
Which brings me to my next concern. Entitlement.
I was taught at a very young age by Filipino immigrant parents that if I wanted something, I had to get out and get it. No one was going to do it for me. No one was going to give me special treatment. Don’t expect that. Ever.
It’s a work ethic I expect my husband R and I to instill in our children. Work hard. Don’t expect anything from anyone except for yourself.
That mom went home thinking that her kids DESERVED to get autographs. What is that teaching her kids? Their kids did nothing to EARN autographs except buy a ticket to a baseball game but even that doesn’t ENTITLE you to an autograph.
My kids went home grateful that two baseball players stopped to sign their balls.
Much in the same way I carry the label “MILITARY SPOUSE”. I own it. It’s mine. But I (and thousands of other military spouses) don’t think that the world should fall at my feet because of it.
Will I ask for a military discount? Of course! Doesn’t hurt to ask, right?
Do I EXPECT it? Of course not. How much more cordial would we all be if we just deleted entitlement from our egos? How much easier would it be to deal with disappointment if we treated each other with respect and relied on grace to get us through tough times?
At the very least, we’d probably get more autographs.