I'm reminded by my little league team that some children have no one to be their advocate. No one to protect them. They have to grow up way too quickly. But my observation elsewhere is that many young parents, eager to be advocates for their children, are tempted to go the other way in being overprotective. They always side with their child against the teacher, against the little league coach, against really anyone who doesn't agree that THEIR CHILD IS THE MOST PRECOCIOUS CHILD AROUND AND HE/SHE IS NEVER WRONG. If a child isn't playing enough, it's the coach's fault. He must not like the child. Or he's playing favorites. If a child doesn't make All-Stars, then the people voting had some vendetta against the parent (since the child obviously should have made it). This is the Oliver Stone conspiracy theory of how All-Star voting takes place. (Stay tuned to this blog for my ranting and raving against the whole idea of All-Stars.) If a child gets in trouble at school, it's the teacher's fault--even if the teacher is known to be loving and competent. Do we really do our children any favors by giving them a sense of entitlement? Does it prepare them for the world to let them know that anytime they run into trouble, THEY aren't responsible? It's a frightening thing to me to run into such children--whether as a coach in little league or as a professor in college. Everyone is tempted to think their child is precocious--uniquely funny, artistic, smart, and insightful. In fact, we want so desperately to believe that about our kids. But they're just children. (A very, very few are, in fact, precocious--but they're still kids.) God love 'em every one.