Where I Stand ‘Overparenting:’ setting fire to a ball field
“Good Morning son, so how are you feeling about the game today? What? You’re worried about the field being wet and the game being postponed?....wait a minute, let me grab my cape, and solve this problem for you.” Who can I call to help me? What can I do so the game can go on?
Step in — lawn mower parent (not a helicopter parent) but a parent who is preoccupied over the obstacles that may interfere with their kid, and try to devise ways to clear a path so there are zero conflicts (and in this case, perfect playing conditions). Basically, they “lawn mow” a perfect path so there’s no disappointment.
So what would have happened if the game was rescheduled Saturday? What would have happened if the team played on a muddy, wet field? With all the lunacy around this act — don’t mess with mother nature! Whether you’re a past MLB player, a parent of a high school baseball star, or someone who just loves the game and is the face of baseball in our community, it is not your duty to “perfect” the situation so the game can go on.
The headlines are filled with how parents are paying fees to get their kids into college, or paying for proctors to take entrance tests for their kids, and now Ridgefield parents are setting fire to baseball fields so a high school game won’t be postponed? What is happening? Why do parents feel that they need to be over involved when it comes to puddles on a ball field?
Yes, we are all over the media; they have taken this story and run with it. But do you blame them? What lesson is this teaching our children? We are continuing to interfere, overprotect and then come up with all sorts of ways to avoid consequences. I wasn’t there to observe what was taking place on Saturday morning, and everyone, myself included makes stupid decisions, but when parents are taking it upon themselves to “perfect” the field so a high school baseball game can take place, something has got to give.
And, if indeed there were players standing on the side of the field watching and videoing as their parents light fire to the field, there’s something very wrong!
And now it seems, (maybe because lawyers are involved), the people who ignited the flames haven’t come forward. What lesson is this teaching our children?
I’ll be honest, have there been times when I’ve wanted to fire up the lawn mower and put on my cape to save the day for my kid? Sure! But parents — we have to stop! We aren’t doing any favors for our kids by writing essays for them, by falsifying resumes or college applications, or by enrolling our kids in so many AP classes they can’t come up for air or, in this case — setting fire to a ball field so the game can go on.
But aren’t we just doing what we have to do in order for our kids to succeed? NO! Stop interfering, overprotecting, paving (or lighting) the way for our kids. In the end there is no great outcome to this story. The parents are embarrassed, the players are mortified and angry, the town is upset, and I don’t think anyone is missing out on a contact to the MLB or a college scholarship.
Let’s just remember that falling down isn’t the hard part. It’s getting back up, doing what is right, showing our kids that coming forward, apologizing and paying for damages is the right thing to do.
Amy K. Wendland is a resident of Ridgefield.