Since my elementary days I have been a developing fan of baseball. It started out of curiosity, turned into becoming a fan, moved towards enjoying the game (watching & playing), and in my current stage of metamorphoses I would consider myself a student of the game. I am by no means an expert, but then again I do not have to be! When it came to sports I originally did not enjoy the labor itself, but when I realized that I could play well I also had to learn to protect myself from over-analyzation. I just needed to enjoy it! This is why I knew I would not go further towards a baseball career: I would not be able to both enjoy the game and play professionally. Of course, there is also the additional reality of the “few” that make it to the “show,” as well as my not-so-fit physicality. Anywho…back to the Babe!
Babe Ruth was the first baseball icon I was introduced to. As I write this on February 6, 2017, I am memorializing this man who I read about in 1st grade, on what would have been his 122nd birthday! Wow. What caught me about Babe Ruth was not just that he hit towering home runs before anyone else could swing the bat so well, nor was it anything to do with how he was supposed dead after ingesting a gargantuan amount of hot dogs and soda (I remember hearing about this story from someone). No. It was his love for kids that adored him. You see, I was one of those pesky kids who loved to show up at the ballpark hours before the game so that I could tail the players and hunt for autographs. This is why I chose the photograph you see at the top of this post: The Babe is signing a ball, and I would say it is more likely it was for a kid than for money or anything else. At least, history and stories have painted him this way.
If you have read about Babe Ruth or watched any films or biographies that focus in on his life you will no doubt be aware of his underdeveloped maturity. He really does appear to have been an overgrown child in many respects. Perhaps that is why he connected so well with children and loved on them without limit. It may also be that the Babe grew up in an orphanage and found better paternity in the priests who taught him about baseball and God than he did his father and mother who abandoned him as an infant. There is no need to judge any party involved in the story; this is not the point anyway. Whatever difficulties framed his life and were articulated through his words and actions there is still the one thing that stands out to me: He loved kids, and kids knew he loved them.
Is this so uncommon? There are certainly people who genuinely care for these innocent younglings, however they do not get the press of the pedophiles and ignorant caregivers. Sadly, what I generally see day-to-day are parents who see their children as a nuisance and teachers or childcare workers who see children as a way to make a buck. So yes, it is a concern that causes me to consider that loving children is a non-mainstream idea. This is where I toast a soda to the Babe, “Here’s to you…you actually, genuinely, obviously loved kids.” This is the UNcommon Perspective. Love kids so well that they know you love them. In contrast to this I will say that if you have any place in the life of a child (parenting, teaching, caring for, or nurturing), act like it for goodness sake OR get someone who will. The power of influence on these innocent and often naive lives cannot be stressed enough.
Keep in mind that you were also once a child, and the jury may still be out on whether or not you are an overgrown child. If you are indeed the latter, you will find yourself in good company of great stature in the Babe. How you were shaped as a child cannot be changed, but you are capable of changing how you will impact children. Kids may be innocent, but they learn quickly and they gravitate to people who they know will genuinely love them. Consider children as an investment for our future, not one you will “cash in” on immediately. I would say that the return on loving children will be immeasurable as you see their lives unfold to replicate the love to the generation of children who follow theirs. The choice is yours. As for me, I want to emulate the Babe on this one: Love kids so well that they know you love them.