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Lessons Learned

Go ahead and tell me that isn’t the cutest stinking picture you’ve ever seen of two brothers!   I’m blown away by how great this picture is.   With the exception of the aluminum bat, you could make this picture black and white and it would look just like brothers in the 50’s playing baseball.   Good Stuff!

This year we’ve had a an exciting spring with both the boys playing on the same baseball team.   We’ve only had victory once; but the chance to coach a team with both my boys on it has been a thrill.   Today I had an experience that made me want to encourage all parents to give their children the opportunity to play organized sports.

Ryan, my 6 year old, is one of the better players on the team.   It helps that he’s 6 months older than everyone else, but nonetheless he’s a pretty darn good baseball player.   Over the past few games he’s had a rough go of it, with a grand slam called back for throwing his bat (it really just rolled out of the batters circle) and some fielding miscues that have cost his team dearly.

In today’s game as he returned to the pitchers mound after again being called out for throwing his bat, he was pretty messed up inside and trying to fight back the  tears.   I got down on a knee and told him to get a grip!   I know, I know…it sounds mean, but what I really told him was that now was not the time to think about his last mistake, and that instead he had to help his entire team by being ready to give his best in the field.   I helped him count to 5 to clear his head, and slapped him on the butt and told him to go out there and kick some butt.

As I returned to the dugout, I had this clear thought.   Where else would my kid learn such a valuable lesson?   I know that not all kids are athletically gifted, but at the youngest of ages I don’t think it matters.   The lessons of giving your all for a team, putting your mistakes behind you, and learning to get better are going to prove invaluable to both my boys…not to mention all the great snacks given away at the end of every game.

Jonathan Cliff is married to his wife Starr and they together live out their days with two sons and a daughter. Jonathan serves as one of the Pastors at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tennessee; where he works with leaders throughout the city to help develop Christian community that leads to deep and meaningful spiritual friendships. His journey has been an adventurous one, having served in the local church for 15 years in family ministry developing leaders, building environments for kids and students to belong, and encouraging parents to take big spiritual steps with their families.


  1. Jim · May 11, 2009

    coaching and being involved in my kids sports history is like a 2nd childhood. but it’s their deal, not mine. i’m the parent, and it’s not a sports franchise. i’ve seen way too many extremes out on the pitch.

    Jim ´s last blog post..Got Glue?

  2. Anthony Prince · May 11, 2009

    that’ll preach!

    Anthony Prince ´s last blog post..1st Church of Familarity. Anytown, USA

  3. Gina · May 13, 2009

    There are only certain things we can learn in certain settings. Organized sports is a great way to learn how to work with a team to accomplish a goal.

    Question is… how do we keep that as the main point?

    Gina ´s last blog post..Unpacking the College-aged Mind

  4. Sam · May 14, 2009

    Great story. Very personal I should do one of those. Ha!

    Very true. Kids need to learn how to cope with difficulty we live in a day and age where we neuter every activity to make is safe and fair. And that isn’t real life. Life Sucks lots of times and kids today are growing up with a neutered version of reality and can’t cope with hardship. I hope one day to help my son through those things.

    You are a great dad Jonathan.

    Sam ´s last blog post..Orange 2009 Main Session: Reggie Joiner