Somehow I found myself raising my hand a few weeks ago when my daughter’s baseball team was soliciting for an assistant coach. Mind you, the last time I played baseball I was wearing neon, and it was cool, so my baseball experience is limited. But I love to watch baseball and my kids seem to have interest in the game, so I decided instead of sitting in the stands watching that I would stand near third base and tell kids where to run. My son has played for a few years, but he is not making highlight reels or traveling across the country as an all-star. My daughter has never played, but she was not about to let her brother have all of the fun. Although she is the only girl on the team, she doesn’t seem to care. She is pretty excited to be the only girl, and I know she will show the boys what’s what!

So what does this have to do with Fairmont and high school? Well, I’ve been giving it more and more thought maybe we should let our kids do things because they like them rather than being the best. Sincere interest and passion is going to take someone far, rather than being required to do something solely for posturing. Take our highly ranked debate team, for example, those kids give it everything and have seen great success. But to get there, they have to miss a lot of class and make up a lot of work. That’s not anything a casual debate fan would be interested in doing.

Parents, we have to back away from the idea that there is only one pathway to success. We have to let our kids try new activities without pressure. Maybe it isn’t what you had planned for them, but they love it and can do it for hours at a time without complaint. This is what makes each child unique. Think back to when you were 17 years old, did you want your parents dictating your every move?

Students, once you commit to something, give it 100%. No one appreciates those that don’t give full effort. That’s why it is essential to find the things you want to do. If you don’t want to be a doctor, don’t become one. It’s that easy. But do find a path that plays to your skills and interests- it’s out there, I promise.

I may not be the best baseball coach, but I enjoy the sport and want to help my kids enjoy it as well, so I am going to give it my time and effort. I doubt I will see professional rewards because of my ability to toss baseballs to children, but it will still be fulfilling. Do the things you love to do, even if people say you can’t or shouldn’t. Even my son was wary about his sister playing baseball, but then he agreed to help teach her (which means I have to reteach, but that’s another story). He came around quickly, and we as parents should too.