Newton’s Laws of Motions state that with every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. This is not only true in the way of physics, but in life, too. We are raising our children to think before they speak and act, and they are learning in the process that every word and action has a result, good or bad. When their words or behavior are unkind or inexcusable, they are given a consequence. For the most part, I would say they take their punishments in stride as they are aware of the mistake, and feel ashamed and guilty.
Recently our 7 year old son made a number of bad choices all in one day. It was definitely out of character for him, as he normally is a very sweet, caring boy. However, every action has its consequence. Brody was not allowed to attend baseball practice that night, and he was instructed to write an apology note to both his teacher and friend. While he was upset about missing baseball, writing and giving the note to his beloved teacher was absolutely gut wrenching for him. Therefore, I knew Brody regretted his bad choice.
Taking away baseball practice may not seem like a big deal, but for a child who dreams of being the next Yankees short stop, it is a punishment. My son admires Derek Jeter. He is aware that Jeter was not only an incredible baseball player, but an outstanding, respectable person. Brody recently read Derek’s Jeter’s book, The Contract. We’ve discussed the type of character Jeter embodies and often ask Brody, “What would Derek Jeter do? or Would Derek Jeter act like that?” After Brody’s “bad choice” day we asked Brody if he would like to write up his own contract, just as Derek Jeter had done when he was a young boy. The next morning I found this:
“When I grow up I want to live playing for the Yankees. I want to be the starting shortstop and number 97. I won’t take drugs or drink alcohol. I won’t lie anymore. I’ll be a leader. I won’t follow the leader. I can and I’ll try to fix many bad problems. When I retire I want to be a umpire. I’ll try to make really good calls. And when I die I want to get burned to ashes all over Yankee Stadium.” –Brody Christopher Buchner
Well, of course the last line nearly brought me to tears, as I think it would any mother, but I was in awe of Brody’s mature thoughts of being a leader. It is something we say often to our children. “Be a leader. Not a follower.” We encourage them to stand up for themselves, for each other, their friends, etc, even if it means being different or singled out. Playing on sports teams has taught my children awesome values such as commitment, cooperation, sportsmanship, and leadership that will carry them through life.