Years ago, shortly after my first child was born, a friend gave me a book about baseball and fatherhood titled, Covering Home. At the time, I was coaching high school baseball and entering the world of parenthood, so the book was relevant and impactful. This spring with the birth of our third child—and the onset of the baseball season—I dusted off Covering Home and flipped through many of its pages. It's a work I referenced in a blog three years ago, and it remains relevant due to its thoughtfulness and healthy perspective on parenting.
Written by Jack Petrash, a former teacher, this simple yet profound book centers around the needs of children at various stages. Written for fathers (and baseball fans), the book is relevant to any parent, as the take-away messages are broad and timeless.
At its heart, Covering Home is about understanding that children “continually need to be actively, emotionally, and thoughtfully engaged.” When children are young, play should be ever-present in their lives, and as adults we should structure safe environments where children can create, imagine, and discover. As children move into the mid-to-late elementary years, they develop emotions and feelings that shape their worldview. And, as children become teenagers, providing intellectual opportunities for them to test out their ideas and thoughts is critical to their development as productive citizens.
Certainly, different developmental stages call for different amounts of these elements—and every child is unique—but according to Petrash, these elements work together to form a “three dimensional” picture of what young people need and deserve to develop into emotionally stable people.
More than ever, schools and families need to partner with each other to form a healthy and strong foundation for children. For parents, summer provides an awesome opportunity to spend quality time with their kids. I hope this summer you have been able to celebrate life’s moments, both big and small. Regular traditions, activities, and family experiences create a sense of security and safeness for children, establishing positive emotions around time and place. In the summer, time seems to stop for children: it is during these moments when our imprint as parents can be the strongest.
In a similar fashion, schools work to create routines and structures that allow students to feel cared for, emotionally safe, and academically challenged. At GSB, we are fortunate to have educators who understand that the framework they create and the words they use have a far-reaching impact on students.
In combination, families and schools serve a similar mission—to raise healthy young people who are prepared to be leaders of tomorrow. At every turn, it’s important that we consider the impact we are making with children, as they are always watching and listening to the adults in their lives.
The great Willie Mays is credited for once saying, “good players can play with their bodies, but great players play with their hearts and minds as well.” As the summer slips by, I hope you are finding the right combination with your child[ren]. September will soon be here, and when it is our faculty will be ready to challenge, embrace, and encourage our students in ways that promote goodness and positivity.
Happy late July and we’ll see you soon!
- Covering Home, by Jack Petrash (2000).
- Stretch: Unlock the Power of Less and Achieve More Than You Ever Imagined, by Scott Sonenshein (2017).
- Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown—simply the best children’s book ever!