Herding Cats

A few days ago we were at one of Rowan’s t-ball games.  It was the third inning, and he was out in the (way) outfield, past where any kid his size could whack a ball.  He was supposed to be playing shortstop, but got bored, and wandered out to the fence that forms the perimeter of the field. He was trying to catch bugs that hovered around the pond that sits right outside the fence.  As he flung his glove around in an attempt to scoop up any stray insects, I knowingly smiled.  I had done the same thing during my t-ball days, and even looked forward to the escape of the outfield.  There were no pressures, no noisy adults dictating my every move, and certainly not much action.  I was free to dance, turn cartwheels, look for bugs, and just generally relax.  While my little boy was trying his hardest to fit his gloved hand through a space in the chainlink fence, one of the other mothers looked at me with pity, and said, “I know he’s homschooled, so don’t think too much of him not being able to play with the other kids.”  My jaw hit the dirt so hard that it’s a wonder I didn’t cause a new sink hole. (we’re kind of known for sink holes around here, because of the massive cave systems underground)  I managed a sort of half smile, and slowly inched away from her.  There are several reasons I didn’t turn it into an all out war smack down.  Here’s why: Rowan was too far away to hear, so I didn’t feel the need to say anything to explain away his behavior.  Also, why should I?  Show me one four year old that doesn’t like to dance, chase fireflies, and tumble around a grassy field on a sunny afternoon, and I’ll show you one unhappy little person, and an even unhappier adult.  Another reason I didn’t let her statement affect me is that at that exact moment, her son was busy removing second base from it’s nest in the ground.  I thought about that saying about “herding cats”, and was pretty sure it applied here.  Trying to get four year olds to play an organized sport the way professionals do, isn’t going to happen.  It’s like trying to herd cats.  Sure, some kids have the ability to blindly follow the crowd and easily fit into a mold casted by adults, but mine doesn’t.  He’s his own person, and I like it that way. 

I looked at our boys, neither one really thinking about what the rest of the team was doing, and I thought that they were having the time of their lives out there, locked in their own little worlds.  Rowan’s inability to concentrate on the game had nothing to do with him being homeschooled.  It had everything to do with him being four.  He’s a little kid.  As he reminds me every so often, he’s not even a whole hand old yet!!  I myself forget this from time to time.  I expect him to act like an adult, well trained by society, when he’s only been walking and talking for three years. 

I’m not a confrontational person, so starting a fight over someone else’s ignorance, especially in front of my influential son, isn’t something I’m prone to do.  Maybe I’m too passive sometimes, but I don’t see why I need to argue my point to know that I’m right.  What good would it have done, really?

In all honesty, it *did* bother be a little bit that she was judging my little boy because of his homeschooled status.  I know it’s not the last time this is going to happen, and I need to develop a thicker skin when it comes to this subject matter.  People are always going to judge, and look at us differently because I don’t choose to enroll my child in mainstream schools. 

All I ask is that people respect my decision to educate my son in a manner that suits us, and I’ll do my best to refrain from commenting on the fact that the kids from the public schools here can’t even properly re….oh right, I’m not going to mention that.