I do not have kids and nor do I intend on having kids for a while but as a coach I feel like I have this responsibility to treat every kid I coach like they’re my own. Coaching is a very sad life at times because of this. You pour all your energy and attention into this person and at any moment they could just walk away. As someone who predominantly coaches girls I feel the connectedness of the coach-athlete relationship is so strong. Girls are all about the connection, but, like any coach-athlete relationship it can change in a heartbeat. Whether it’s that they find a new coach, better club, changing family situation, or they have had enough of you all the energy you put into them can be gone and you must start again. With that being said, I think I have gathered enough points that I would want my future daughter to know about. I have been the caring temporary guardian despite knowing the harsh reality of my job that it is so bittersweet.
She Will Know This
1) Being female is just a label. It is no different than saying you are tall or short. Looking at the bigger picture, how you treat people and the impact you leave on their life will define you more than being female ever will.
2) If you end up being gifted like me, it means you have potential. You have more potential but it is not guaranteed. I failed math, a lot. I had the potential but no desire to work it more than it had to in that subject and I faced the same reality as any other kid who doesn’t try. But you will achieve greatness if your mind and heart is set on it.
3) School matters-and it doesn’t. I cannot give you an honest answer as to why it is confusing this way. All I can say is that what is written on paper is a marker as to how you are performing but it is not to say how you will end up. The first step is to show up, and the second step is to work your butt off.
4) You are never too old or too young. I was scolded once in elementary because I wanted to read books that were above my grade level. The real truth is that the book has no age limit (just a recommendation) and age didn’t matter then, it doesn’t matter now. Except legal stuff of course. So if you are the youngest in a class or the oldest on a team it doesn’t matter. If you’ve read older books or done young things it doesn’t matter.
5) Friends are important. I do not want you to be like me. You probably will have some characteristics of me but I hope you’re better than me. In order for that to happen you need to surround yourself with people who believe in you, fill you with only the best energy and make you feel like you are important and worthy. You will give them this same grace in return.
6) Be generous. Always be generous. Even if you do not feel like it and you want to rip everyone’s heads off. Everybody is going through something and generosity will pay off. You will live a fuller life and feel better about the world too.
7) Being intelligent is really cool. Small people will try to make you feel like it’s not. Knowing your stuff and being proud of it will take you really far. Being intelligent doesn’t always mean knowing everything either though, but it means knowing how to solve problems and having the courage to figure it out on your own.
8) Confidence is cool. It will shine brighter on your face than any other trait and combine it with intelligence? Awesome. Add kindness and generosity? An unbeatable combination.
9) You’re not alone with your problems. Whatever happens to you has probably happened to someone else. It is like they say though, the best way to make someone feel completely powerless is when they’ve been made to feel completely alone. They’re less likely to fight back (I might have paraphrased Luna Lovegood’s speech to Harry Potter a little) You will never be alone. Don’t keep it inside. Burdens are manageable when shared and the people who care about you won’t mind sharing.
10) Advocate for yourself. You want something bad enough? Then the world is going to have to see it, hear it, feel it. I will not be your personal billboard stating all your goals and dreams. I’ll be an obnoxious advertisement but not a billboard. You will need to learn to find your voice and I realize I might be setting myself up for failure because your voice may in fact be stronger than mine. I’ll get it though…one day we will both get it.
I would be lying if I said I wouldn’t mind if you went to University or dropped out of school. I really want you to go to University. But I can make this really ambitious request because I don’t know any better. The truth is, as much as it scares me, I think I will be okay with whatever happens. So long as you followed those 10 things if that all leads to you dropping out…well…we will cross that bridge when we get there.
These ten things I preach to “my kids”, the ones who might eventually move on and find different waters. However their embodiment of these ten things are what made me proud of them so I cannot imagine it being any different for the girl who will never leave me when the time comes.