My slugger

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Every kid has a knack for something. My nephew, Micah, is a detail and fact person. Not only does he remember what he bought his cousin for Christmas 3 months ago, he remembers to keep it a secret. Nehemiah can’t keep secrets, but it’s OK because he doesn’t remember enough facts to divulge secrets. My niece, Hannah, is teaching herself to read at age 4 and I am sure she will surpass Nehemiah’s reading ability within the next 6 months. He is 7. My kid’s particular knack is gross motor control and coordination. He learned to walk at age 1 as normal, started running a week later, and was climbing stuff at 18 months. When at a playground parents seem to hover anxiously glancing at me in concern that he is about to fall off a piece of playground equipment, but I know that he. just. does. not. fall. He had a balance bike at age 2 and taught himself to ride a bike at age 3 without training wheels refusing to let me help.

Of course we play around and he is always busy doing something, but it seems like every sport there’s a pattern. At kindergarten soccer league, we show up and Nehemiah scores half the points and dominates the game. Parents asked me if I have been playing with him, coaching him, what other leagues he has been in. I assure them that other than kicking the ball around with friends, we have not. This is just what he does. He is coordinated beyond his years. We show up to rookie baseball- the league above t ball. I wasn’t organized enough to get him into the t-ball league last spring. He plays baseball with the neighborhood kids, I think we’ve played catch a few times, but he shows up, has a swing like he’s in the MLB and hits into the outfield every. single. time. Parents gasp. The other 7 year olds back up when he goes up to hit. Coaches warn the kids to stay alert.

I have to say it is fun to watch. It also scares me. Our culture is obsessed with sports. It’s what’s cool in school- football will always trump math club. Though we pay professional sports players ridiculous amounts of money, 98% of people will be employed doing the tasks that are not cool in school. There are plenty of parents who are drilling their kids, forcing them into repetitive tasks too early in their development, thinking they are going to be the next Tiger Woods. I also don’t know if this ability of his is just normal physical development on an abbreviated pace. I’m already starting to prepare him that he may have great ability now, but this may all even out by high school. What I don’t want is sports to be the focus of his life and that will be no easy challenge. Unlike most of the toddlers at his daycare and pre-school classmates, I didn’t have him signed up for activities outside of school. It was easy to opt out of activities when he was oblivious. I am now allowing him to do one spring sport and one fall sport. Limitations will harder as he gets older. In the mean time, it’s his God-given ability and it’s fun!

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