When my oldest son was about four I began to teach him to play baseball out in front of the house with a small wooden bat and a tennis ball. When I drove in from my day at the church he would often be waiting for me with his little bat and tennis ball. We would play and I would pretend I was a professional play-by-play announcer.
Sometimes I would brush him back or hit him gently with the ball and I taught him to charge the mound when I “brushed him back.” He would charge out and we would stage a big “brawl” and wrestle for a while. It was all in good fun, of course.
One Saturday morning I was with Doug Webb, one of the men from the church, and we were making some calls. One of our calls was near our home so we drove by. Kyle was out in the yard with his baseball bat. Doug was driving.
“Hey, pull in, Doug,” I said. “I have something I want you to see.”
We stopped and Kyle and I did our little “Major League Baseball” thing. I pitched the ball a few times and then I said, “Watch this, Doug, ” and threw the ball at Kyle. He whirled around and I expected him to charge the mound and we would do our little brawl act for Doug, but for some reason Kyle wound up and just threw that bat end over end. It sailed in our general direction and bounced off the windshield of Doug’s late-model car.
He looked at me with a shocked expression as if to say, “Why did you teach him to do that?”
I said; “I’m sorry, Doug, he’s never done that before.”
I suppose since I had dropped by with an audience little Kyle assumed he should add a little “flair” to the act.
Kyle’s baseball skills and his acting skills were good and he put his whole heart into what he was doing. These things were commendable, but four-year-olds are unpredictable. None of them have perfected the grace of self-control. A lack of self-control is cute in an infant, sad in a young person, and tragic in an adult. People without self-control are dangerous to be around. If we don’t have self-control people close to us can get hurt. But when self-control is present in a person’s life it is one of the sweetest fruits of the Spirit. I pray that the work of the Spirit will be so un-hindered in my life that all of His beautiful graces and sweet fruits will grow in my life like a garden.
IBLP Latin-American Center
May 17, 2006