Shooting Hoops and A Glimpse of the Past
The other day I went up to the JCC to shoot hoops with some friends. Nothing particularly special happened while we were playing, just the typical kinds of things you find in a public basketball gym. A wide variety of age groups; some people simply shooting, others performing extravagent "slam dunks" on the mini-hoops, and still others attempting to make the infamous half-court shot. As I warmed up, however, something completely ordinary began to catch my attention. A little boy not five or six years old was shooting on a side hoop with his father. I'd seen this a million times, but for some reason at this moment it really struck me-I thought it was so cool that this boy and his dad were here playing together. The boy's dad was teaching him some of the fundamentals of the game: how to pivot, how to dribble, how to steal the ball. Some nostalgic chord deep within me was plucked at the sight of this and I became side tracked thinking about how important it is for parents to spend time with their children at an early age. Even to this day some of my fondest memories with my parents are those of playing sports with my dad, doing art projects with my mom, along with countless other activites. One article I found about child development in reference to parents spending time with their children says,
"While children do need time to play alone and with other children without adult intervention, research shows that playtime with parents is also important.
Children crave time with parents. It makes them feel special. Parents are encouraged to find time to spend playing with their kids on a regular basis. This should include one to one with each child and group time with all of the adults and kids in the home. . .Playing with kids builds a bond that will last forever. It lets the child know he or she is loved and appreciated. It opens the door for sharing problems and concerns when the need arises. It helps the parent get to know and under the uniqueness of each child. It is also great stress reducer for overworked parents."
Many of the activities that the article suggests for parents are many that I have lasting memories of with my parents: "Play outdoors. Throw balls. Push kids on swings. . . Play games – card games – board games – silly and wacky kids games. . .Get involved in a craft project together. . .Listen to music together. . .Read a book together. . .Watch a movie together." What the article describes really is true; children do unconciously crave enormous amounts of attention from their parents. I can't imagine how much different of a person I would be if I didn't have these experiences with each of my parents. All the time spent with my dad shooting hoops that I had taken for granted was something that not nearly enough kids get to experience for themselves. There are so many children out there that don't have parents who want to spend time with them, that is not to mention all the children that don't have any parents at all. I think, for me, seeing that young boy learning to play basketball with only the coaching of his father was like watching myself in third person learning to play the game and ultimately being able to appreciate the time my parents have spent with me up through my 18th year of life.