Lessons from The Sandlot, the movie

The Sandlot is one of my favorite movies for a lot of reasons. I like seeing the old cars, clothes, decor, and hearing the music. Too, I like seeing things from the kids’ point of view. Scott Small’s mom is an encouraging influence to her son, but the adventures (and misadventures) highlight how kids can problem-solve on their own. Yes, they might get into trouble, but Scott’s mom understands that it was important for him to get out there and try, even make mistakes and get into trouble. “Not a lot, but some,” she said. If you haven’t seen it yet, I encourage you to see it. That’s a spoiler alert but I’m going to assume you’ve seen it.
I find myself reminded not to expect perfection from my kids. I know I have 2 smart boys. They can remember a lot of stuff that just surprises me, but I cannot expect them to remember everything or be able to do everything perfectly. We all have our talents and our weaknesses. After all, how many times have I forgotten the simplest thing? Its good to forgive yourself the mistake and its essential not to make your kids feel bad for mistakes. Mistakes are part of the learning process. How long do you think it would have taken Scott to find out who Babe Ruth was had he not used the autographed ball to play and had it not gone over the fence? How long do you think they would have believed the story about the old man and his dog had they not had reason to go over the fence to get the ball? Those were some good lessons.
Another encouraging character was Benny ‘The Jet’ Rodriguez. He didn’t let Scott quit the group. Benny helped Scott get accepted onto the team. Scott was the type of kid that was really smart, but apparently not so good in sports. I can relate. Scott wasn’t the best player, but as a team they did really well beating the uniformed team on the other team’s home turf! I felt that way when I was in the high school marching band. I was never first chair but I belonged to a group that made some beautiful music. That was very satisfying and some misadventures made the experience complete! One of the things Benny had told Scott in the beginning was to relax because Scott thought too much. “Just enjoy the game,” Benny said. Some of us are really good at reading. Others are really good at getting the basketball through the hoop. Its OK not to be good at everything, but its good to enjoy everything, even the stuff we don’t do so well.
That being said, a hobby does not have to involve your kid’s strong point or talent. It can and it’s not discouraged, but the point of having a hobby is to enjoy it. At the end of the movie, you see Scott as a man at a Los Angeles Dodger’s game. Benny grew up to be a Dodger’s player. Scott is the commentator for the game. Scott isn’t playing the game on the professional level like Benny, but Scott definitely knows it well enough to be a commentator. And Scott seems to be enjoying it immensely.
Encourage the effort to try new things.

Encourage the effort to try new things, mistakes and all.

Encouraging our kids to try new things (even foods!) is very helpful for setting the stage to learn and grow. Its not always about improving his/her reading comprehension or math skills or game skills, but enjoying the process of doing something new and not be afraid to make mistakes. It can keep them flexible for changes and challenges for years to come and, along the way, s/he’d gain friendships and memories that last a life time.
In future blog posts, I will provide tips on how to help your kids gain confidence and skills using hobbies. Whether its disc golf or philately, I’ll give hints on how to encourage higher-order thinking skills, such as problem-solving and critical thinking, skills that go a long way in helping with academic subjects. This comes from Bloom’s Taxonomy. You can read more about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Higher-order_thinking I am by no means saying this is the best philosophy, but I will refer to it from time to time as I think it has some good points to consider.
Stay tuned!
photo by: Goombay