Today I was playing baseball with my favorite 3-year-old, his parents and two of our friends. It was the most beautiful day, and I was so happy to be out there with them.
"Diana, you're catcher," Jack told me, and I obliged.
Jack is an amazing ballplayer. He hits far and pitches like a pro. But when he'd miss, I'd go after the ball and toss it back to his dad, J.J.
With each bad throw, I'd say, "Sorry!" And Jack would look at me quizzically.
Finally he turned around and said, "Why are you sorry?"
I paused. "Because I'm not a very good thrower," I said. He paused, turned back around and was ready for the next pitch.
But what he said hit me hard. Why WAS I sorry? Why do I apologize for every little thing? And when I do, do I confuse little 3-year-olds who are taught to apologize when they do something wrong, only to see me apologize because my toss was a little crooked? Could it make them equate a lack of talent in an area as being "wrong" or "bad"?
Jack mostly hit home-runs. Mom and dad and friends would react clumsily to the ball and miss him as he ran the bases. But one time, dad J.J. tagged him out. And Jack's little face fell into a frown. "I don't WANT to be out," he said.
"But, Jack, everyone gets tagged out every once in awhile. But they get back into the game and try again, right?" I said.
"Riiiiight," he said, his head down. Then he perked back up and was ready for the next pitch.
The next one was out of the park.