My kids asked to join an after school program called Girls On The Run (GOTR) this spring. It's been a great experience for them. Twice a week for an hour after school the girls do self esteem building activities and run. A lot. It's been great for them.
Yesterday they participated with about 3000 other girls from all over the county to run 5k at the fairground. It was a great experience for them - and for me. I was reminded again how important doing something as simple as saying "great job!" to someone can be.
A asked if I would take one of the signs they made for my walk so I could cheer for them. It hadn't really occurred to me to do that but it was an easy enough request, so why not. It was easily the best thing I've done for a while.
The sign I took said "You're awesome!". As the girls ran past, some said thank you! Some said Yes, I am!. Some of the buddy runners (parents) said "See? People think you're awesome and you can do this!"
I am struck yet again by the value of cheerleading. I wasn't a crazy, yelling mom that day - far from it. It's uncomfortable in some ways to cheer on people you don't know. But seeing their faces, their smiles made me want to cheer for each and every one of those kids. Cheering for these kids made a difference. It helped them.
I was thinking that maybe what I need is a cheerleader. Then I realized I already have two. I'm set.