Advertisement

Archive for Sunday, May 23, 2010

A new ballgame: Fatherly advice for a high school grad

Like many parents, Dennis Anderson, right, has words of advice he hopes his son Eric will remember long after his high school graduation and into the real world. Anderson is managing editor at the Lawrence Journal-World.

Like many parents, Dennis Anderson, right, has words of advice he hopes his son Eric will remember long after his high school graduation and into the real world. Anderson is managing editor at the Lawrence Journal-World.

May 23, 2010

Advertisement

We’ve all made mistakes in our lives.

You know, the ones we play out in our mind as we try to get to sleep.

Over and over I replay the time I threw a changeup to a batter who couldn’t touch my fastball for strikes one and two. Each time I relive that moment, the catcher puts down three fingers, the sign for a changeup. I question the call but don’t shake him off. He’d been catching all game and I just took the mound.

I throw the pitch.

Each time, the hitter lines the ball past the third baseman for a hit.

And so starts a rally that sent me to the showers and ended my competitive baseball career.

I learned a lesson that transcended baseball that Sunday afternoon: Trust your gut.

My oldest son, Eric, graduates from Free State High School today. In August he leaves for college in Illinois to play baseball. At 17, he hasn’t yet learned all the lessons I’ve learned in 47 years. He will learn them, and likely the hard way, but not before I share my wisdom.

I’ve offered Eric a lot of advice — some of it actually solicited — on a number of topics. My advice has come as driving instructor, baseball coach, disciplinarian and just plain dad.

My wife Julie is the nurturer. I’m more direct. It’s a curse, and a blessing.

In that spirit, I share the advice I’m giving Eric, likely for the last time while he’s still living under our roof.

Scratch that itch

If something in the back of your head is telling you to do something, do it. The time it takes you to do it now will be far less painful than the cleanup later.

Don’t be a jerk

Treat people the way you want to be treated. You won’t always be treated the same, but you can live with yourself later.

Don’t be stupid

On prom night, Eric and his date gathered for pictures with 11 other couples. After the parents played the role of paparazzi, the group was heading out to dinner before the dance. I pulled Eric aside and said: “Don’t be stupid.”

Translation: Don’t drink, do drugs or have sex. The consequences of a moment can affect a lifetime.

I can only hope Julie and I have taught him how to make the right decisions.

Relationships

Maintain the strong connections with the high school friends you are leaving, but understand that relationships — and life — go in cycles. Those cycles are rarely in sync.

And always be open to new friendships.

Make a difference

Become a mentor, or Big Brother, to a young person. You will learn as much about yourself as you will about your Little Brother.

High school doesn’t define you

In 10 years you will not be the person you are today.

You will have many opportunities. Take advantage of them and make connections with people you respect and can teach you things. You will have a professor who will change your life. He or she will become a lifelong friend and resource.

No maid service

Learn to wash clothes, clean a toilet and cook salmon with asparagus and wild rice — your wife will love you for it.

Throw the fastball

When you get a sign from the catcher that you don’t agree with, shake him off and throw the pitch you trust. Believe me, you’ll be able to sleep better.

Comments

Linda Hanney 4 years, 3 months ago

Well said, Dennis. I would also add: Don't forget your roots. Your family's love for you runs deep and, like a tree, will help hold you upright and strong.

0

Ronda Miller 4 years, 3 months ago

Congratulations to all of your family, Dennis. You'll have many emotions today. I'll be at graduation today as well - a close friend of mine has a son graduating. I'm off the hook though as now I wait for college graduation still a couple of years down the road.

Additional advice, keep a sharp sense of humor and carry a book of poetry with you. Share both frequently. Best of luck, Eric!

0

Alison Carter 4 years, 3 months ago

Wonderful missive, Dennis. All of your advice is spot on......and I strongly endorse this one for Eric to remember.

Maintain the strong connections with the high school friends you are leaving, but understand that relationships — and life — go in cycles. Those cycles are rarely in sync.

And always be open to new friendships.

0

David Lignell 4 years, 3 months ago

Nice article, Dennis. Congratulations to your son, Eric (and his family) on his graduation. You must be very proud, indeed. Agree with Ronda, too, on keeping alive that keen sense of humor. My connections with my kids run deepest when we laugh together.

0

Jayhawk0405 4 years, 3 months ago

Hahahahaha playing baseball in college, good luck wittttth that

0

Lora Gilliland Schneider 4 years, 3 months ago

Dennis- Great message! You started off perfectly by stating no one is perfect. As parents we can only do our best and hope we've given them the tools to move forward and be successful. Each of us learn lessons everyday in this life- on the sports field, in the classroom and just with everyday living. Never stop learning. No one knows it all, huh? I would also add to your list "Dont have a chip on your shoulder." Learn from the wrongs we do, the wrongs done to us and move into the next day with hope for a better tomorrow. (some of these knotheads on here could learn that too.) Good job, Dennis and Congratulations and good luck to Eric! :)

0

Commenting has been disabled for this item.