Last year, two of my three daughters were the cutest cheerleaders you have ever seen! My youngest was too little for a squad back then. With the divorce, I had to curb cheerleading but have managed to get them back into tumbling at the same gym. I am hoping, God willing, that I can put them all back on the squad next year. Because I am raising daughters, I want them to be able to do something they love and are proud of that builds self esteem.
As we have attended tumbling, my girls see the cheer squads and ask almost daily if they can get back on them. I explain that mommy just can not afford it right now and that they need to patient until I can. I try to explain that some little girls don’t even get to go to tumbling so they need to be appreciative of what they do have.
I think it is a good life lesson. To understand that things cost money and, sometimes, it is imperative that the necessities are taken care of before the ‘fun’ stuff.
I do love, however, the teamwork and friendships that they have built being on the squad. Even with this year off, some of their “best friends’ are still there and come up and hug them and tell them how much they want them back. And, personally, I would LOVE to give that back to them. I want them to love a sport, a team activity, and to build life long friendships. It does not matter what it is that they do, but I want them to have that.
Lat week, at tumbling, I was approached by a coach for the squad. She had a little girl that was going to miss the upcoming competition and wanted to know if my Sarah would want to fill in for her. It would mean two practices a week, a change in their schedules and the dedication to spend a Saturday at a competition. Plus practice clothing and her cheer uniform. Luckily, because the little girl’s mom who was having to miss had already paid for the spot, I would not have to put out much at all.
All of my girls heard the conversation and my seven year old immediately started to get upset. I scolded her right there in front of the coach and told her that this was an opportunity for her to show support for her sister and pride in her chance to do this.
All evening and into the next day, my oldest especially, cried and threw fits and asked over and over again why she could not be on the squad. Her best friend was on it and all of her friends. Plus, she was older. I explained many times that she had aged out of this squad and that, even if she had not, Sarah had been asked and it is our duty, as a family, to be proud of Sarah and to support her.
I really did not think I was getting through. This is a hard thing for my kids who do, literally, everything together. But I am standing firm and choosing my words wisely. I want my girls to understand that supporting their sisters is just as important as being the one who needs support.
Well, I must have done something right. Because today is Sarah’s first practice. We have to change pick up schedules, where we do our homework and our dinner schedule to accommodate her cheer. As we were driving to school this morning, I was explaining the changes.
Surprising to me, out of Katie’s mouth came, ‘Sarah, we are soooo proud of you and we will be screaming the loudest at your competition!’ Megan, my 4 year old, said ‘Yea -we will!’
I actually had to fight back the welling of tears. I was so incredibly proud of my girls and I told them that.
I am sure I have challenges to face ahead with this, including the let down when this competition is over and Sarah has to go back to just tumbling, but I think it is an awesome opportunity for teaching my kids to support each other. Plus, it is a chance for me to splash my little cheerleader all over my Facebook page!
How do you deal with teaching your kids to support each other? Do you have any tips?
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