What Caused This Professional Baseball Player to Walk Away from 13 Million Dollars? #FamilyFirst
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I can’t give you any statistics on (now former) Chicago White Sox’s baseball player Adam LaRoche and I don’t know much about his faith life, but I do know that he made a very powerful statement yesterday about family that we can all learn from.
For the past six years, Adam LaRoche has had his son Drake tagging along with him at many events during his professional baseball career. Drake, now 14, had seemed to be a part of the team. Last year he had his own locker in the team clubhouse. An article from the Chicago Tribune reported that Drake was often referred to as the Sox’s “26th man.” He seems to have been a sort of team mascot, beloved by many of the players.
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A quote from an interview in 2013 with the Washington Post explains how Adam LaRoche felt about being able to have his son with him at all times, “ It’s like having your son and your best friend alongside you all day long, at work, which never gets to happen. I don’t know many jobs where you can bring your kid and not have to put him in day care somewhere. It’s been awesome.”
All this will change for the upcoming baseball season. Yesterday, the president of the Chicago White Sox’s, Kenny Williams, told LaRoche that he would have to limit Drake’s time in the team clubhouse this year. It’s not an unreasonable thing for Williams to ask, but LaRoche’s response is one that speaks volumes about his priorities.
Rather than limit time with his son, LaRoche plans to retire. He will walk away from 13 million dollars. What does that say about the value he puts on his relationship with his son?
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In addition to the money, think of all this man is giving up. A career that he has worked a lifetime to attain. The fame that comes with being a professional athlete. The friends he has made on his team. A sport that he loves.
LaRoche faces a lot of unknowns about what the future will hold for him and his family. What will he do from here? However, it is obvious that he feels what he is gaining – a relationship with his son that is unbreakable- is worth much more than all that he is giving up.
Adam LaRoche sent out this tweet after making his decision to leave baseball in order to be with his family. Many athletes responded with tweets of support for LaRoche and his family.
This is a valuable lesson and a reminder for all parents. We want to send our children the same message that LaRoche has sent. You are worth more than fame, a professional career, and any amount of money. You are loved.
It’s not necessary to quit your job, but do try to think about ways in which you can arrange your schedule so you are able to spend more time with your children. It is the most important investment we can make into the lives our children and it is time that we will never regret spending. Time with our children will show them they are loved and valued. When we do this, we model the love that God has for us and we teach them what it means to be a family.
Pope Francis recently gave this advice, “Parents, can you ‘waste time’ with your children? It is one of the most important things that you can do each day.”
Our prayers are with Adam and Drake LaRoche, as well as their family. A difficult decision and a difficult time to be sure, but one that is sure to reap fruits that last an eternity. #FamilyFirst
1.) Do you agree with LaRoche’s decision? Would you have done the same?
2.) When was the last time you “wasted time” with your children? What can you do today to show your children they are valued?
3.) How does spending time with my children show them the love of God?
*UPDATE: For those questioning the “why” behind LaRoche’s decision, please read his full response to the media here . “I understand that many people will not understand my decision. I respect that, and all I ask is for that same level of respect in return. I live by certain values that are rooted in my faith, and I am grateful to my parents for that. I have tried to set a good example on and off the field and live a life that represents these values. As fathers, we have an opportunity to help mold our kids into men and women of character, with morals and values that can’t be shaken by the world around them. Of one thing I am certain: we will regret NOT spending enough time with our kids, not the other way around.” – Adam LaRoche