The Common Good

A Calendar is a Moral Document

"Dad, could we go to the field and practice a little more pitching?" Our Astros Little League baseball team had just won the Northwest Washington, D.C. championship game in the last inning. The kids and parents were all excited, and we had just finished the big post-game and end-of-season party at our house -- passing out both trophies and pizza. Everyone else had gone home, and Luke, my son and dependable clean-up hitter and pitcher, wanted a little more baseball. "Sure," I said with a smile. "Let's go!" What else can a coach, and a dad, say?

Related Reading

Take Action on This Issue

Circle of Protection for a Moral Budget

A pledge by church leaders from diverse theological and political beliefs who have come together to form a Circle of Protection around programs that serve the most vulnerable in our nation and around the world.

It was a very short walk, which is why our family moved just a month ago to live on the edge of Friendship Field in Turtle Park. I think it's the best ballfield in the city, with four adjacent diamonds on this field of dreams. For a baseball family like ours, this is like living on the beach. And this is where our sons, 10-year-old Luke and 6-year old Jack, will spend much of their next several years.

There was nobody else on any of the four baseball fields, because by this time it was almost dark. So we chose the one on which we had just won the big game. Luke walked to the mound, and I bent over as best I could to be his catcher. But it wasn't many pitches before I said, "Luke, if we keep pitching in this darkness, one of us is going to get hit in the head, and it will probably be me! Let's just go for a walk around the field, and talk about the game." Luke thought that was a great idea.

So two guys, a father and son, slowly walked around all of Turtle Park -- in the dark -- making sure to carefully touch home plate on all four fields. Nobody else was there. We talked about baseball and other stuff. At the end of the walk, as we were heading home, my son looked up at me and said, "I love you, Dad." And suddenly the whole world was just about perfect. When we got back, I was surprised to see little Jack still up. But he met us at the door and said, "Dad, could you and me practice pitching tomorrow? I'm getting pretty good!" My morning had just been planned.

Becoming a father rather late in life has indeed taught me many things. In fact, many of life's most important lessons, I would have to say, have come to me by way of finally being a dad. These two boys have become a spiritual anchor for me, and being their dad has been a kind of contemplative discipline that my busy life sorely needs. I began to build my speaking and travel schedule around things like Little League baseball, or even just putting them to bed at night -- which I now do most nights of their lives. After a while, I realized I wasn't just doing this for them -- but also for me. I simply can't bear not hearing the daily reports about what happened at school, or after school, or with their friends. And their prayers before going to bed at night (my job) are surely not to be missed. They now help shape my theology.

Jack's latest pearl was praying for his mom and dad and brother and cousins and classmates -- as usual. Then he and his brother often pray for "poor people," but this time Jack added, "And God, there are a lot of poor people, hungry people, and homeless people -- any questions or comments?

Sojourners relies on the support of readers like you to sustain our message and ministry.

Related Stories

Resources

Like what you're reading? Get Sojourners E-Mail updates!

Sojourners Comment Community Covenant

I will express myself with civility, courtesy, and respect for every member of the Sojourners online community, especially toward those with whom I disagree, even if I feel disrespected by them. (Romans 12:17-21)

I will express my disagreements with other community members' ideas without insulting, mocking, or slandering them personally. (Matthew 5:22)

I will not exaggerate others' beliefs nor make unfounded prejudicial assumptions based on labels, categories, or stereotypes. I will always extend the benefit of the doubt. (Ephesians 4:29)

I will hold others accountable by clicking "report" on comments that violate these principles, based not on what ideas are expressed but on how they're expressed. (2 Thessalonians 3:13-15)

I understand that comments reported as abusive are reviewed by Sojourners staff and are subject to removal. Repeat offenders will be blocked from making further comments. (Proverbs 18:7)