It’s Sharon here. I’m a high school freshman who has always dreamed of being a cheerleader. I love cheerleading and when I watch the football games with my dad, I get so excited when the girls come out to cheer on the players.
My dad is pretty supportive but my mom says that I’ll never make it as a cheerleader. I’m short, about 5 feet tall, and I’m not a very good dancer. My mom says that I shouldn’t waste my time and that I’ll just embarrass myself.
I don’t agree with her and think I should still try out for the cheerleading team.
Rene, Did anyone every feel you weren’t good enough for something, yet you tried it anyway? What do you think I should do?
Thanks for writing in about this. I actually think there’s more than meets the eye here. Let me tell you a story. When I was in college, I had a journalism professor who stood up in class one day and told us all that, try as we might, chances were high that none of us would ever become a news anchor. He told us about the competition and how there just weren’t that many slots available in newsrooms around the country. I left the classroom, stunned but determined to prove him wrong. And boy did I. In my first TV job, I started out as a reporter, learned how to anchor and made it all the way to the network in that capacity! I guess my professor was wrong, eh? I know what he was trying to do and it’s the same thing I think your mom is doing with you. So let me break it down.
*YOUR MOM IS TRYING TO PROTECT YOU: I honestly think her reaction is not so much about not supporting you rather about her trying to protect you from disappointment. You’ll know what I mean when and if you become a parent. As parents we try to keep our kids from being hurt but that’s really impossible to do. What I do with my own kids since I cannot protect them from the inevitable, I just prepare them for it. I try to teach them what to do when things don’t go their way, which is a tool they will use the rest of their lives.
*TALK TO YOUR MOM: Now that you understand the reasoning behind why she said what she did, you can sit down and talk to her. Tell her that you understand there is a chance you won’t make the team but there’s also a chance you WILL! The only sure answer you have is if you don’t try at all and what fun would that be? Life is an amazing, wonderful journey full of twists and turns, excitement and disappointment. But it’s really a full contact sport; in other words you need to attack it with gusto, instead of hedging your bets all the time. It’s one thing to prepare for the possibility you will not make the team, it’s something completely different to not urge you to try at all. There’s a fine line between urging you to use caution and crushing your dreams.
*FOLLOW YOUR DREAM: Since we’re talking about dreams, I want to leave you with this. To me there are few things worse in life than having regrets. Think about it. If you listen to your mom and don’t try out, think how you’ll feel every time you watch the cheerleaders from the stands. You’ll look at them and say, “I could do that.” or “That could be me!” As I said before, the only sure fire answer you have will be the one you get from not trying.
Here’s the deal, Sharon. No one is born great! They may have the raw skills but that talent has to be honed and refined. The only way that happens is through practice and determination. You’re a freshman and may be all of 5 feet tall now but you might grow 4 inches in the next three months. Or not – and that will be okay too. You can practice to become a better dancer; do some research on well-known dancers and how they got started. Take some classes and get on YouTube to learn steps. Put your head down, be determined then go try out. You can do this, I know you can and no matter how it turns out, be proud of the fact that at least you tried!
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