Toss the ball

How I remember the day when we sent our first child out into the world.  Mom gave him a big hug and held back a tear, I told him to have fun and our little one climbed the steps into the bus to head off to kindergarten.

That evening at dinner, we wanted to know all about his day, starting with the exciting bus ride.  Mom asked, did you sit by anyone on the bus?  Bret said, “Yes.”  Was it a boy or a girl?  “A boy.”  What was his name?  “I don’t know.”

Did I mention he was a little shy back then?

The next day at dinner, “Son, did you sit by the boy on the bus?”
“What was his name?”
“I don’t know.”
“Did you talk to him?”

Hmmmmm, seems we need to teach the boy how to have a conversation.  Mom gets a ball and shows it to Bret.  “What’s more fun, to hold the ball or toss it?”  Bret says, “Toss it.”

Mom tosses it.  Pause, then Bret tosses it back.  “That’s it.  Talking to someone is like tossing a ball back and forth.  You take turns telling each other things.  Tomorrow, when you sit down by the boy on the bus say, ‘Hi, I’m Bret. What’s your name?’  Ok?”

The next day, a new level of excitement at dinner.  “Son, did you sit by the boy on the bus?”
“Do you know his name?”
“Yes, it’s Adam.”
“What grade is he in?”
“I don’t know.”

Darn.  “Tomorrow, tell Adam you are in Kindergarten and then ask Adam what grade he is in.  You know, toss the ball back to Adam.  Ok?”

Day after day, little Bret learned to have a conversation. Bret is a college student now, he’s not shy and he is a serious conversationalist. You can check our church website and listen to his message a few Sunday’s ago when he filled in for me.

Listen to your children and teach them the skills they need. Be creative, network with others, find a way, and don’t give up. They are depending on you.


Each month, The Cross Timbers Gazette features a column submitted by a southern Denton County pastor. Call 940-728-8284 for more information.

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