Learning about patience

By KENT A. STOCK Staff Writer

Arthur Graphic-Clarion of Arthur, Illinois

I think as kids we can all remember about our parents trying to teach us something that, in the end, we just weren't going to "get."

For me, it was baseball with my dad being the teacher. The folks loved baseball, and so did I. Dad was a very good baseball player, and Mom excelled at softball, so naturally I should have some talent in me to develop. Or maybe not?

I understood the game at a young age. I could field the ball, I could catch, and I could throw.

The problem came at the plate because I could not hit the ball.

Now the ball could hit me, but that was not a very good strategy to get to first. It was not hand-eye coordination, either, because I also played tennis at a young age and was actually very good. If only the bat could have been shaped like a racket.

My parents tried and were very patient, but I know it had to be frustrating. Still, at some point they realized we will have to help the boy be successful doing something else.

Like math, for example, which we will mark down as another way parents learn patience - at least in my case.

I was a very good student making mostly A's, a few B's, and the occasional dreaded C which invariably was in some form of mathematics. Dad was once again in charge because he was exceptionally good at the subject.

My mathematical nemesis as a child and to this day was and is the story problem. You know, if there are 30 people on a train that leaves St. Louis at 11:30 and makes 14 stops on the way to New York and 2 people get off at each stop and each stop is 15 minutes long how many people get off the train in New York and what time does it arrive? That answer is easy 100 at midnight. Okay, not right, but here is my problem.

Our conversation: Me, "Dad, why are the people going to New York?" Dad, "That doesn't matter, focus on just the numbers."

Me, "Why did they make so many stops? Is it like when we go on vacation in the car and everyone has to go to the bathroom at different times?"

Dad, "Just focus on the facts, son." Me, "I wonder what they'll do in New York? Go to a baseball game?"

Dad sighs.

So with school starting up, parents, just remember you will probably learn patience in some form or another. If not from baseball or math, remember, there is always tennis or history.

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