Family life

What a high school basketball game taught me about parenting

All it took was a clip from a basketball game in El Paso, Texas, to make Katie realize the bottom line of her parenting goals.

By Katie Dupuis
What a high school basketball game taught me about parenting

I was the first person at work this morning. In the midst of heavy snow, messy roads and disastrous train schedules in Toronto, while my colleagues struggled to get to the office, our biggest issue was that the daycare parking lot wasn’t plowed. No biggie — we pulled into the lot next door and I ran Soph in. So, I’d been at my desk in an empty office with a cup of tea in hand for almost an hour, catching up on the news, checking the progress of our pages (we’re in the last week of production on the April issue), when something remarkable showed up in my Twitter feed.
In El Paso, Texas, a high school senior summed up what I hope for as a parent.
Mitchell Marcus, a young man with a developmental disability, is a huge basketball fan. For his high school career, he’s been the team manager of the Coronado High School Thunderbirds. And in the last game of the season this year, he got his shot to play. For the final minute and a half, Mitchell’s team fed him the ball as many times as they could, hoping he might score a basket. When the ball was thrown out of bounds, the opposing team got possession and it looked like the end of Mitchell’s chances to put points on the board.
That’s when Franklin High School senior Jonathan Montanez did an amazing thing. Standing on the sidelines to throw the ball inbound, he called Mitchell’s name and threw the ball right to him. Mitchell tossed the ball up and netted the basket, and the crowd flooded the court, celebrating the momentous occasion. When CBS News asked Jonathan why he did it, he said “I was raised to treat others how you want to be treated. I just thought Mitchell deserved his chance, deserved his opportunity.” Mitchell’s mother said, “I think I’ll cry about it for the rest of my life.” I think I might, too. I was sitting at my desk trying to prevent a river of mascara from running all over my face (it was only 9: 00 a.m. and I’d already ruined my makeup).
But basically, what Jonathan said is exactly what I want for Sophie. Above everything else, I want her to be a good person. I want her to recognize an opportunity to give someone else a moment. I want her to know that kindness is paramount to a fulfilling life. It really comes down to that. There are many, many other things I want for her, obviously, but at the end of it all, I want to know that I taught her to lift others up.
I’m proud of Jonathan Montanez. I can’t even imagine what his mother must feel.

This article was originally published on Feb 27, 2013

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