I was an avid baseball fan as a kid. I remember when I was about 10 or 11 years old, and my mom would leave my brothers and I in the public library while she ran errands. I remember those times as formative years, where I would learn much of what I knew about the great baseball players in history. I would immediately go to the section where I knew the baseball history books were.
That is where I learned about Babe Ruth.
Babe Ruth was a foster kid. He was placed in foster care at age 7. While in foster care, he learned to play baseball, and of course we know what happened next. He grew up to be a legend, one of the greatest baseball players ever, hitting over 700 home runs and going down as the greatest Yankee. Many will remember that Yankee stadium was called the house that Ruth built.
What is interesting is that in most books that tell his story, very little is told about those years. What most books say was simply that he was a rough kid, and lived in a reformatory. But I do wonder what allowed George Herman Ruth to survive those times, and what allowed him to succeed in life where others did not. It seems to me that the Babe was able to succeed because of baseball. I mean, he was able to find something he was good at, that lifted him out of his situation. I suspect that those around him in his care recognized his potential, and encouraged it. How different would his life had been if he had not had that encouragement, or if he had been placed in a reformatory where baseball was not played.
I guess my point is how fragile we really are as humans. No matter how much talent we have buried deep inside of us, we just cannot do it alone. We can all look back into our childhood and remember that one person, one event, one season in our lives where our abilities were brought out of us. How different would our lives be if that didn’t happen, of if for some reason, we failed to take the opportunity when it was presented.
I see foster parents today as fulfilling that role. We are the spark that can either ignite a child, or extinguish them. It is a big responsibility that God has placed on us. Don’t get me wrong. A Babe Ruth may only come around once in a lifetime. But maybe we have the next president, or singer, policemen or fireman in our home. Whatever this child may become, it is us that can make the difference in their lives.
I pray that God gives us the time, strength, and wisdom to pour out His love and His plan for the life of this little child.
I also pray for those souls who don’t have someone in their lives to fulfill this role. May His love and guidance bring them out of their present situation.