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Tonight I learned how important it is to stand up for what you believe in – no matter what.  My daughter’s cheer team made it to Nationals.  This is a very exciting accomplishment for all the girls on the team as well as parents and coaches since this is our first time making it this far.  Needless to say, emotions are high and everyone wants to perform their best.

Tonight when I was outside with parents and girls, one of the coaches approached my daughter and criticized her performance today.  My daughter did not talk back.  I could see she was sad.  Her lip began to tremble and her eyes welled with tears.  As a mom, seeing my nine year old ready to cry in front of her coach, parents, and other girls on the team was heart-wrenching.  But with pride, she kept her stiff upper lip.

It was another mother who spoke up (first) on my daughter’s behalf.  She was concerned that the coach was reprimanding a girl on the team in front of so many people.  I was grateful that she started the conversation, mostly because I couldn’t trust myself to speak.  “Mama bear” was getting angry.  I did defend my daughter and told the coach that speaking to my daughter or anyone’s daughter in that way was inappropriate, mean, and disrespectful.

Don’t get me wrong.  We respect coaches and anyone of authority in my family.  I told my daughter, who is worried about their final performance tomorrow, that she should be respectful and tolerate the coaches statements and observations (even if she “calls my daughter out”) again.  Other parents left to report the conflict to the head coach and the head coach paid us a very welcome (and necessary visit).  My daughter and I had a few tears and a really good discussion about respect and kindness.  (Deep breaths were necessary too – lots of them!)

The whole situation reminded me of this quote:

Karen Wood Superintendent

I wish more people would consider this quote in MANY circumstances. This isn’t just about my daughter and a coach who lacked respect for her cheerleaders. This is about so many people who have the ability to nurture, guide, coach, teach, and inspire. Isn’t that what we should all be striving for? To inspire?

I know that even through a challenging situation, I will do my best to cultivate the best environment for the flowers in my charge….wherever that might be.