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Exercise Wednesday: Not a love name

April 16, 2014

A Facebook acquaintance (not really a friend, because I’ve never met her), said that she bent down to tie his cleats. On rising, she was ready to hug him. He leaned in close and, in what she thought would be a special moment, whispered, “Please don’t call me any love names. It’s embarrassing.”

My son is considerably older than that. He can tie his own cleats and drive himself to games. As a doting parent and sometimes coach, I’ve seen plenty of games and plenty of parents. And at some point, for some of them, “Come on honey,” turns into, “What are you swinging at?” or “Hit the cut off man! Come on!”

Not like this

There’s a kind of love between a parent and a child that allows that parent to get on the child’s back when the child has been repeatedly drilled on hitting the cut off–that is a second baseman or shortstop in the shallow outfield who can throw home or redirect the throw to get an out elsewhere. Especially when that child was yelling the same thing at the television when a big leaguer didn’t hit the cut off.

It’s not abusive. It’s not screaming at the kid when a pitcher snaps off a curve ball that bends the umpire’s knees. It’s not screaming at him for diving for a hard line drive and having the ball roll off the tip of his glove. It’s a tiny bit of almost tough love because you want him to do his best.

Today’s exercise is directed specifically at characters who are parents. Not just parents, but parents of kids who aren’t toddlers any more, and who have abilities and have mastered some things. Kids whose minds are everyplace except where they need to be at a specific moment.

If you’re a parent, you know what I mean (or you will). If you’re not, this is a good way to expand your imagination.

Write a scene that would have once used love names, but doesn’t any more. How does the parent react? How does the child react? How do other people around react?

Time limit: 30 minutes

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