Sharing the story of what happened to my ten year old daughter Paris last week on my blog, http://bit.ly/1djkyGQ was really difficult. It’s not always easy to open up and share your wounds with other people. Yet it seems that her experience resonated with our readers in a powerful way. I’ve had many questions from wonderful people about “the rest of the story,” so here it is.
If you have not read the blog yet, please do so now http://bit.ly/1djkyGQ and then come back to this one.
In response to Paris’s experience at gymnastics, I scheduled an appointment to go in and talk with her coach. However, I would not be doing the talking, Paris would. Dave and I asked the coach to sit down with Paris and explain to her personally what was going on. When we picked Paris up from school she asked why both Dave and I were in the car and why we were going to the gym with her. We responded that she had an appointment with her coach and that we were simply there to support her. That she needed to find out why she was being yanked from her team workout, ask as many questions as she had, and decide what she wanted to do going forward. This was her deal, not ours. The important lesson we wanted to impart, no matter how hard it was on our hearts was that as a girl of ten, she needed to start handling her own problems and learn how to resolve them, communicate and process her emotions versus daddy and I swooping in to save her!
The Truth Hurts…
While very difficult to admit, her coach was probably correct in moving Paris to another group. Coming from a different gym two years ago, with different methods, Paris was still catching up at this elite gym. Loving gymnastics for the sport, not the competition, she was falling behind in comparison to the girls “there to win.” The coach explained everything and apologized for the way she informed Paris, in front of her peers-that she would no longer be part of the group.
I asked Paris, who was devastated just a day prior, what she wanted to do. Her options were to quit, move to a different gym, go into a group that was not competitive or press forward and show people what she was made of and fight to get back into the group she loves. She chose to stay right where she was, in the group her coach moved her to. I was so proud of her. Through my pain as a mom, watching my little girl face the trials of growing up, I prayed she would make this choice. We’ve faced tough things before and I’ve tried to make sure she knows that it is not what happens in life but how you respond to what happens that matters.
On a Mission…
The night we got home from the gym, Paris moved her balance beam up from the garage to the living room. Is this love or what? I now have a floor level beam in my living room and a gymnast on it around the clock. Yet I know this time will pass… and if this is what it takes to show our love and support, we’ll keep that darn balance beam in the living room for as long as it takes.
The next six months will be hard for Paris, she will feel many emotions as she watches her best friends all work out together four days a week while she is in a group with girls she doesn’t know. She will deal with her humiliation, feelings of inadequacies, (perceived) failure and embarrassment. Yet those emotions, I have a strong feeling, will begin to build a new part of her character, strengthen her resolve to prove she is capable and just might produce a champion who was lying within; waiting to be awoken!
What I Learned….God Help Me!
As a mom it was so hard to not jump in and fix this problem for Paris. I was literally screaming and crying inside, having never seen her in that emotional state before I wanted to go into the gym and demand they put her back into her regular team practice group, with her teammates that she loved- tell them they were wrong, or had made a mistake. Yet in my heart, I knew this would not prepare her for the world. So moms, when the going gets tough and you face a moment like we did, which you will, remember this story, reach out to us for support, and know that a caterpillar cannot become a butterfly if a person helps it break out of its cocoon. It must struggle and fight to get out and in doing so its wings strengthen; which in turn allows it to fly. If you want your child to fly, you must let her (or him) struggle to grow her wings.
If you’d like to get the daily blog post by email, sign up at http://bit.ly/1j2ol3s. If you’re reading this post through the daily email and want to become an Ambassador for Get Your Girl Back, where I’ll ask for help from you from time to time, email me at Traci@GYGB.com and I’ll share what we are up to.
Written by Traci Bild, Founder of the Get Your Girl Back movement & expert on Women’s Issues