I know it’s Thursday, but I’ve been really wanting to share this part of our week with you ever since it happened. It’s one of those that has Tim and I sitting back and really glowing with pride over our daughter. Yup, it’s one of those brag moments again. Similar to the one Iraina had last year.
This time it involved Aislyn, our 10 year old daughter. For those of you that are new on the scene, we home educate our troops and so even though I don’t like to see myself as a helicopter mom – I’m pretty much around for most of their day to day happenings, as you can imagine.
I must admit that from when Aislyn was about 8 years old, I saw the need for me to step back from a few things and just let the chips fall where they may and rather chat to her about it later in the day when it was all done.
Anyway, we have chosen to teach out children to be able to have a voice and speak up when they see something is wrong or if they feel something is wrong as well. They should never settle for bullying in any way – be it another kid, adult or authority figure – they should speak up. We’ve allowed them to even speak up to us when they feel something we’re doing isn’t right. We want them to be assertive and strong. But, at the same time be able to conduct themselves with respect and honor when they’re doing it.
So, let’s get to what happened.
So, in one of Aislyn’s extra murals – they obviously do things as a group and are instructed by a coach. Over this particular period – she had been coming home saying to me that she wasn’t happy with the way that the one coach was talking to them. Specifically, in that she didn’t like that the coach was saying that a member of the group was “naughty”. (some of you might not get this, but we’ve taught our children the difference between the behavior of “being” naughty and being “called” naughty) so in this instance the other member was being “called” naughty.
Aislyn expressed to me, for about 4 different car rides home, that she didn’t like this and that she was uncomfortable with it. Now, I could have easily swooped in and taken the coach on, but my response was this….. I told her that I’m not with them in the moment and that it would be unfair on the coach and embarrassing to her, if I was to come to them and tell the coach to stop saying that. So the best thing for her to do is, in the moment – explain to the coach what she doesn’t like and ask the coach to stop saying it like that.
I honestly know that this is a massively tall order to ask my 10 year old to take up on her own, especially with some one that is older than her. I was in two minds, but felt that it was important that she learn to fight her own battles – even if it may seem small to me or another person.
So, after expressing this several times – after the one practice, she came home and was rather upset. (I wasn’t there to collect her after it happened and so had some feedback from her grandparents who collected her.)
I then asked her what happened. She explained that the coach, once again, was being a certain way with them and their activity, and she tried to remove herself from the situation so that she wouldn’t explode in a rude way.
The coach then asked her what was wrong and she said, politely (which she specifically said she did) that she was trying to hold in her opinion and not say anything, but she can’t hold it in anymore. (she then said she became emotional)
The coach then asked what she was holding in and she then explained that she didn’t like that the other members were being “called” naughty.
The coach didn’t quite understand and responded as thus because it wasn’t a big deal in the coach’s eyes. She then still said she thinks that it’s wrong and that they “aren’t” naughty. (this all explaining about the other members, not herself because she had done the work)
The coach then said she shouldn’t make a big deal about it and that they should continue with the practice.
She then did as she was told, but in a toilet break went to the bathroom and tried to gather her emotions as she was really upset about it and didn’t want to embarrass herself in front of everyone.
After hearing this, I was in between two different sets of feelings.
- I was super proud of my kid for saying what she needed to say and for making such an effort to do it the right way and not throw a tantrum about it. (I so would have done that if it was me)
- I wanted to immediately swoop in and sms, whatsapp, email and call the coach to address the issue, so that the coach could have a piece of my mind! After all – the coach is the senior here and should have tried to understand her more.
But I withdrew from the second option and took it to my team mate, Tim. He was also annoyed that she had to be put in this position, but at the same time (like me) was also proud of her ability to engage something she was standing up for, especially to someone older than her. That’s huge!
We then proceeded to explain to her about how the coach wouldn’t really understand her point of view and that it was really great of her to have stood up for what she was thinking like that. We decided that I would have a gentle chat with the coach and understand both points of view and explain to the coach what Aislyn was meaning and why she was upset.
She was happy with that and also willing to reconcile the working relationship.
A few days passed between this conversation and the conversation with the coach and it was amazing – because before I went to the coach, we sat as a family and prayed that we would communicate well. It was awesome and amazingly the conversation went really well and both sides were explained and coach and athlete have clearer communication lines now.
Like I’ve mentioned before – we were and are so proud of how Aislyn handled herself. We were impressed with her poise, strength and ability to articulate her feelings without any of our help.
Obviously, I don’t wish these situations upon my child but boy oh boy is it good to see her exercise her confidence and maturity.
What would you have done? More notes are definitely welcome – I have two more kids besides Aislyn, to guide along their first experiences in every way.