The Fourth of July brings this tale from my past to life - baseball, hotdogs, water melons, and the "curve ball".
Life's freedoms come with unexpected difficulties, curve balls. I, especially, remember the curve balls, thrown, at birth, at baby Robert. He was unplanned and unwanted. His mother used marijuana before conception, but used no chemicals during pregnancy other than smoking cigarettes. Her drug use began at age 12. When Robert was six his mother was treated for chemical dependency. Her father, mother, and sisters had histories of depression. Robert's paternal grandfather had alcohol problems. "You are out! Oh, no, you haven't been up to bat, yet."
Robert came to the "lock-in" school at age 10. He had been frustrated in public school and had threatened violence toward is EBD (Emotional Behavior Disability) class. He had a history of enuresis that appeared secondary in nature. He had frequent conflicts with his mother. Many of his urination, bed-wetting episodes happened on weekends with his biological father (who had alcohol problems). Robert's mom had been married when she was 16 and his dad 19. Since the divorce she had had two relationships with other men; one lived with them twice. (Let freedom ring - but not for Robert)
Robert's three strikes: 1. Say what you are thinking. 2. Hear my words. 3. Use your words. (He had not learned them.)
Clyde, on the other hand, had been hit by a "fast pitch" that he never saw coming. He had attacked a boy in the final round of a history competition. The other boy laughed at him when Clyde placed second. Clyde had run down the aisle and assaulted him. Clyde's father had had difficulty pulling Clyde off the other boy. The final "grand slam" to Clyde's psyche, his best friend had taken first and had earned a position on the state history team.
Coaching these two boys, toward the best defense against not losing freedom of expression. To improve their up-to-bat average they needed to understand: Passion without punching. Two perspectives. Two perceptions. These two were 'behind the curve', but their batting averages did improve under cognitive care.
My batting average for the Fourth of July memory, '500' ;)
Kaye is a teacher and author of multiple works including Valerie Valentine Visits Vincent Vampire