I recently watched my triplets at their school sports day.
full blown sucker
for spectating any sport when my kids are
One of the highlights to me is always the high jump. Possibly because when I was their age, I was invariably too petrified to even attempt to jump over a high, hard bar with mental pictures of breaking vertebrae. Maybe I was a radiographer WAAAY before I knew it!
When the girls in the event head over to the high jump area, they are joined by their whole cohort plus extra onlookers. As each girl jumps over the bar, nearly over the bar, through the bar and even under the bar, the year group clap and cheer regardless of success in the jumps. It’s ALL good. It’s a vibe you want to be a part of and witness to.
As the bar gets higher, the applause gets louder and the cheering and energy increases to a point where you are just happy to be a part of the event, even as an onlooker (or proud mum). The energy boosts those still managing to jump over the bar without it falling and for those who don’t make the jump there are hugs, high fives and welcome inclusion into the fold of the audience.
It really is gorgeous to watch.
The warmth and encouragement I witnessed reminded me of when the children were little and any feat or new skill was amped up by those supervising with cries of ‘you can do it’, ‘you’re SO clever’ and ‘I’m SO proud of you’. The look of smug achievement was priceless and the feeling of victory would buoy them up for sometimes the whole day. They would be three and four years olds bragging to those around them about their latest achievement.
Lamentably I believe we gradually let that encouragement wane as our children get older- or at least the vigour with which we deliver it.
And what about the adults/colleagues/ loved ones in our lives? Do we embolden them? Do we spur them on to do their best, to try their hardest and shine in their moment? Do we give them buoyancy?
I admit I could do a WHOLE lot bloody better!
Let’s not undermine the effects a few esteem boosting words of encouragement.
God, isn’t this the year we could all do with some?
Let’s move on from cheering the first step, the first time riding a bike without training wheels and eating all your veggies to being brave through the loss of a loved one, weathering emotional turmoil or simply making it to the end of a shitty day. Let’s acknowledge each others struggles, trivial, huge or otherwise and say ‘you can do it’ and ‘I believe in you’. Let’s shed our egocentricity even for as long as it takes to utter a few words of encouragement.
Let’s make each other better. I dare you. It won’t hurt a bit.
It will only energise and revitalise. It will strike a spark and light the way for someone’s next step. No matter how big or small. Whether a first step, a new start, a fear conquered, a challenge accepted or hell- just taking a breath and getting through the day!
It will inspire hope and boost self esteem.
It will incite hard work and a smile.
Doesn’t that sound powerful and kind?
I’m not saying I / we need to shout and cheer and high five (because you should KNOW I’m not a high fiver) to bring hope to someone’s day. No.
A smile. A ‘you’re doing a great job’. A ‘thank you ‘ or if you’re so inclined, holding a placard, doing a chicken dance down the main street will do.
So let’s put in a good word for each other- whether they jump over the bar, or under.
Let’s infuse courage into one another and set the emotional high jump bar where it should be.
PS- my girls came 2nd, 3rd and 4th in the event……