My first thought was Oh, how nice!
My second thought was more than a little envious, Geez, how lucky to have that choice.
Then I started reading more about it and I discovered that it wasn’t the case of a dad who traveled a lot and rarely got to see his son. It was a case of a dad refusing to be separated from his son.
According to this Washington Post article, it’s common for baseball players to bring their sons into the clubhouse. But La Roche brought his son with him every day. “Drake La Roche was a constant presence at Adam’s side, shagging fly balls during batting practice, remaining in the clubhouse during games, helping the attendants with odd jobs all the while.” They even had adjacent lockers.
So when the team’s executive vice president asked him to cut back on the visits, La Roche claimed a breach of the agreement he had made with the club prior to signing. (In a statement released a few days ago, LaRoche said he was later told not to bring his son at all.) And he walked away from what many would consider a dream job with a salary to match.
Many are lauding his decision as a win for family values.
I’m all for family values, spending time together and sticking up for our principles, but I can’t help but sympathize with the White Sox--at least as far as asking for a cut-back. Maybe they shouldn’t have agreed to that arrangement in the first place. Maybe the visits were just more than they envisioned? I mean, what if every player wanted his son to have an that kind of access? I’m picturing a free-for-all, day-care kind of environment, little boys running wild. (Visions of my son's first-grade birthday party at the mini golf course are haunting me!) The liability issues alone are enough to make an HR person’s hair turn white!
But my concerns are deeper and have nothing to do with business.
To me, the big issue is about parenting, and from a parental standpoint, I have to disagree with the desire to have your child at work with you, every day, all day. I think that's depriving the child of other valuable life experiences.
To me, a parent’s job isn’t to spend every waking minute with a child. A parent’s job isn’t to be the child’s best buddy.
A parent’s job is to teach (often by example) to guide, to share core values and to expose a child to the world—the good and the bad. Because there is bad in the world. People get sick. People lose jobs (not by their own choosing). People are victims of crime and cons and natural disaster.
The parent’s job is to help a child understand that while we work hard for a better life and for rainbows at the end of every day, sometimes life doesn’t work out that way. Sometimes an employer gives you news you don't want to hear.
Helping prepare a child to deal with the bad stuff in life is a huge part of a parent’s job. And I can’t help but think that Adam LaRoche just hit a foul ball. In fact, I think he might possibly have just taught his son that when you can’t get your way, pick up your ball and go home.
I don’t claim to be an expert on parenting—far from it. But hubby and I have raised two sons to adulthood, and so far they seem to be pretty decent men. :-)
While they were with us, growing up, hubby and I didn’t have the luxury of binding them to our sides every waking minute. They joined activities in and out of school, they met all different people outside our influence and made their friends, some we liked, some we didn't. And as they grew, when they made mistakes as everyone does, I watched with my heart in my throat, wishing I could jump in and make everything right. But they had to figure things out for themselves.
As hard as it was, as much as I wanted to shelter them and control their environments, I had to let them learn on their own. I had to let them become men.
So what do you think? Have I missed the point? Am I all wrong on this?
Leah writes stories of mystery and romance, good and evil, and the power of love. Visit her at her website and on Facebook. Catch her tweeting lines from her works in progress for #1LineWednesday each week.