Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Conversation with Myself

Location: Second night at a three day volleyball tournament. Wins 0 – Losses 6.
Sometimes I simply don't know what to say.
Our youngest daughter is on a steep learning curve in regards to being a team member – and a leader. How to act, how to BE in the face of frustration and disappointment; these are hard lessons to be facing at fifteen.
She brought up the word compassion because she felt her father needed to remember to have it when watching her games. I heard her and thought about some of what I had been sitting on the sidelines thinking to myself. Compassion – what a lovely reminder.
And yet, she struggles with this for herself. Struggle is the key word – this wobbly, teetering position filled with growth and pain as she learns what it means to succeed and fail at the same time.
"It's just a game", she said to him. I heard her as well and thought about these games as just moments in time – experience gained with small moments of success and big moments of learning.
And yet she is having a hard time remembering that for herself and I could tell that by saying it to her dad she got to push that festering frustration on to him so she could feel a little better. Rise a bit above the fray, so to speak. He always gets the dump and some of it sticks quite well. But that isn't her fault.
We needed to hear what she was saying – and she needed to hear what she was saying as well.
She wondered out loud if she should simply become the bitch on the team – doling out high fives only when deserved and then seeing how much they were appreciated.
"Is this how you want to lead", I asked?
"Obviously your teammates are beginning to respect you if they care whether or not they get a high five from you – but do you really want to lead by snubbing people when they miss a play?"

I reminded her about what she had said to her dad – about compassion and about this being a game – and then I reminded her about her loving – kindness, her integrity and about what she would want to be proud of in the long term.
"How can you empower and encourage each other without being bitchy?"
And then lastly – how do we as her parents show up to help her model that loving-kindness; to offer encouragement and to make this fun regardless of the scoreboard? We lost sight of that today – easy to do when you are watching six hours of volleyball while trapped in a stadium with hundreds of screaming girls, whistles blowing, balls flying everywhere and sidelines filled with parents.
Multiple conversations, food for thought and then I remember why I am sitting in this hotel room in another state. I'm here to support her as she learns what I think will be some amazing life lessons. That's it. I'm not here to be entertained. I'm not here to vicariously pump up my ego. I'm here as simple support staff for my daughter's journey.
That is what I need to hear myself say.

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