(This is a excerpt from an open letter sent to the parents of Stewarts Creek High School Baseball parents. The responses were so surprising I felt like I should share with a larger audience. Feel free to adapt to your parenting situation.)

Thankful for the Red Hawks baseball family. My son has played on a few different teams in his life, but the ones that had the most impact in preparing him to be a dependable friend and man of character are the teams that were/are more like family.

This is more than “my son making the baseball team”! This is the opportunity to develop future leaders of our community and country. The opportunity to learn how individuals become a team to fight together for a common goal. The opportunity to show our sons how much we love them and are proud of their efforts to go out for something…compete…and make the team. The opportunity to support them in their efforts.

This is an opportunity to influence, at a deep level, our boys one last time…before that dreaded (or longed for…in some cases) graduation day. That day when they will leave the nest and carry our names into the world.

Ask yourself: Have I made my son proud to carry my name? Does he feel I care about him and his desires? Does he know my cheering at the game, working the Concession Stand, driving him around to sell fundraising cards, and buying him a Gatorade…is because I am proud of him? As we kick off the 2016 season Monday night be sure he does.