Let’s be friends

Over the weekend our family had an experience that was unusual. But in retrospect, it shouldn’t have been. It’s a sign that things have changed, and not for the better.

We do a lot of practicing for sports in our yard at home. We have a good-sized yard, but it’s not always big enough to accommodate both batting practice and running soccer drills at the same time. On Saturday we decided to take our practice to the nearby school grounds where there was plenty of room–enough for at least two lacrosse games and us, with room to spare.

While my wife and daughter ran soccer drills I did batting practice with the boys. Soon we had an audience; a boy close to my older son’s age. Not long after that he asked me if he could join us. We agreed, and soon he was acting as catcher, which sped things up considerably. He was very polite, and didn’t seem to mind that it took us awhile to realize he’d probably want a turn at bat, too.

But it was unusual. Kids just don’t come up and ask to join groups like that. I wondered what his mother thought about him playing with strangers.

But as I thought back on it today, that sort of thing didn’t used to be unusual. We used to form ad hoc play groups at the park all the time when I was a kid. Kids didn’t have to worry about being abducted, or being treated badly by other families. It was common for a kid to come up and ask if they could play.

But it doesn’t happen today. Kudos to that boy for having the guts to ask. Kudos to my kids for making him welcome. I sincerely hope that nothing bad ever happens to that boy because he has the courage to be friendly.