Saturday, July 26, 2008

It's Not Just About the View: Part I

Since moving to the Metro D.C. area--and that's a bit of a stretch being two hours away--I've become a big fan of the Washington Nationals. (That's baseball!)

Former L.A. Dodger pitcher and Hall of Famer, Don Sutton, is one of the analysts announcing the games on MASN (the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network). He's probably the smartest commentator I have ever heard, except that he mixes up Nats pitcher Tim Redding with Braves pitcher Tim Hudson when the two teams compete.

In one of the early games of this season, Sutton commented on the umpire's view of the strike zone. The behind-the-plate ump for the game seemed to be off in another zone, if you will. But, Sutton said he was being consistent, and that was OK. He further explained by saying the following:
"It's (the strike zone) not interpreted differently.
It's viewed differently."
I'm thinking we sometimes interchange those words with a bit more freedom than we should. 'Interpretation' is an explanation; a meaning; the expression of one's conception of a work. 'View' is what one sees upon examination; the visual appearance of something; a judgment or opinion about something.

Sutton's point was that the ump's strike zone that night was within industry parameters. But, every ump being different--size, stance, "ghost measurement accuracy" (my own term meaning, umps don't physically measure the strike zone or wear night-vision goggles with MASN's "pitch track" illuminated inside on a screen)--the strike zone viewed by each ump may vary slightly. Left, right, up, down--just so long as it's consistent from pitcher to pitcher, batter to batter--it's OK. The integrity of the strike zone is still solid.

I find parenting is a lot like that, too. Often, it's not a question of interpretation, but point of view. Do children need discipline? Yes. Interpretation is not required. How do you view children needing discipline? Hmm... Different perspective entirely. You can almost see the teams taking the field--Spankers vs. Time-Outers; Clean-Platers vs. Eat-In-Moderationists; Countdowners vs. Come-Now-Or-Elsers, etc.

You might think we view a lot of things strangely at our house. My girls jump on a trampoline, swing and use a trapeze bar--all indoors. We play soccer ball in the hall, when someone isn't using the scooter, that is. Daughter #2 gnaws on sports ball ice packs. And, yes, I'm a short-order cook. ACK! The mom bloggers are either hardly waiting to tell me the damage I'm doing or to cheer me on, while the parenting publication editors are either hardly waiting to use me as an illustration for the damage I'm doing to my kids or debating if this is story-worthy. ("Doesn't have the juicy vibe of the 18 month old in England who only eats chips.")

But, since I bring her up, the interpretation of "care for a child" includes "feed the child." The viewpoint that "French fries are the only thing she will eat. I've tried everything," is not one I see. But, more and more, it's the type of view I don't consider "out of the strike zone," given the "plays" made in our house. We share the same interpretation.

I think I'm understanding more and more about the expression 'judgment call,' and this ump is trying not to issue one to others as quickly as I have in the past. These days, it's more important for me to maintain the integrity of the strike zone as I have been called to see it.

On Monday, Part II--"It's Not Just About the View With God"


Chatty Kelly said...

I like your point of view, or should I say interpretation, or this. It's so true. Except in parenting not only our view, but also our interpretation can change from child to child! They are so different! And what strikes out with one kid, can be a home run with another!

The problem is when our view gets out of whack. Sometimes we can't see the forest for the trees. And than is when its nice to have a friend there to give us another perspective...over Starbucks coffee no doubt.

My ADHD Me said...

You choose your own battles.
When I let JM grow his hair long many people were shocked that I allowed this. But it was just hair. Then, he ended up cutting it off anyway, on his own. That was a home run.

Truth4thejourney said...

Great post! This is so very true. I struggle with accusing my kids instead of giving them the benefit of the doubt at times. We are all a work in progress.

By the way, you've been tagged! Come on over to my blog to get the details. :)