My son spent the first three days of this week at my parents' house. They took him to baseball camp in the morning, picked him up in the afternoon -- the perfect opportunity for my mom and dad to spend some time with their grandson.
Despite the fact that this was the only way he could actually attend camp, I was conflicted. You see, my son just finished eighth grade and the “camp” was really a tryout for the ninth-grade baseball team.
I knew if he stayed at home, with me, he’d be in bed at a reasonable hour, eat right and be as prepared as possible to perform. I knew if he stayed with his grandparents, he would be up too late, eat heavy food and play lots of afternoon golf -- messing up his baseball swing.
But, there was no other option, so away he went.
Needless to say, all my fears were realized. On the second day of camp, when I finally called to see how he was doing, he casually informed me that he hadn’t had a hit all of camp and had made two errors on routine plays. When I spoke with my dad, he, just as casually, said my son was exhausted.
“We played 18 holes yesterday. He must have taken 500 swings. Once he finally got tired and started swinging slower, he actually started to play better.”
I hung up depressed and relayed the message to my wife. She laughed.
“What did you expect? He’s 14. Heck, you asked him not to play golf and as soon as you finished talking to him, he went and put his clubs in the car.”
“I know,” I said. “I guess, I hoped he would make better decisions.”
My wife looked at me and said, “Maybe he is.”
But, she’s right -- again.
This little snippet of life is exactly what the folks who run the City of Delray Beach Park and Recreation in Florida are trying to encourage (see “Over The Lawn, Through The Wicket” by R. T. Eady and Samantha Roland on page 44). They (along with lots of community centers across the country) are working to reduce “age silo-ing,” which, loosely defined, is our society’s “tendency to separate people by age groups” and thus minimize the opportunity those 50-, 60-, 70-, 80-somethings have to interact with kids and teenagers.
Adding inter-generational programming takes some thought, but it’s not difficult. And, some very touching things can come about from the process. Don’t believe me? Take a moment to read “Senior Participation,” by Lesly Ferris on page 41.
It brought a tear to my eye -- though after the week I’ve had, I’m prone to emotional responses.
Till next month …
Rodney J. Auth