Monthly Archives: March 2012

Congrats, Katie Menton

When my daughter Liza was eleven, we wanted to find something productive for her to do. One of our friends suggested basketball and directed us to a local AAU club, the Yosemite Badgers. She was about as green as it gets — I remember thinking that she hardly knew which end of the ball to pick up. But they took her in, along with a number of other girls with varying levels of experience, and turned them into a team. They were awful at first, but after a couple of years, they improved enough to get an invitation to the national tournament for their age group. I helped coach that team for a while and I have a lot of fond memories of the girls (and the young women they became).

One of those young women is named Katie Menton and she just finished her career playing for Pepperdine University. She leveraged her talent and a lot of hard work into a dazzling high school career, and then a full scholarship at an expensive, prestigious university. She played well for the Waves and appears in several of the university’s all-time statistical leader lists, but what really makes me happy is that she will graduate this spring and plans to go on to graduate work. She was the last of my “girls” to move on from organized basketball, so I am a little sad, too. It’s been a remarkable ten-year run.

Kids watch everything you do

Lately I have noticed how many people don’t know or don’t care that they are setting a lousy example for their children. I watch parents screaming, cursing, and calling terrible names as if the kids aren’t there. Sometimes the kids are crying and acting upset while this is going on; often, though, they simply watch as if this is a show they have seen many times before. (How much worse is that?) I am tempted to generalize about why adults do this – lack of maturity seems to be a common theme – but the important point is that they are doing serious damage to children. Kids are sharp and observant, even when they appear to be totally disconnected from their surroundings. I have watched my niece’s three-year-old repeat words he heard one time, even mimicking the tone in which it was delivered.

The Bible teaches us how precious children are to the Lord; I believe a lot of people will be facing unpleasant questions at the final reckoning as to how they treated children in this life. Whether you accept that there will be an ultimate accounting or not, please know that children, whether yours or not, watch everything you do, and that you have no right to be surprised when those kids act out later and display their own version of your behavior. I cannot guarantee that setting a shining example of love and courtesy will make children happy, of course — that would be a little too simple, wouldn’t it? But I do believe you can make a positive, significant difference in your life by treating everyone with respect. That is a pretty good practice at all times, but especially when kids are around.