Note:

This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

They Like Me! They Really, Really Like Me!

Well, at least one of them does.

This would be one of the fourteen girls that I hang out with two days a week. I have teamed up with two other women to coach these girls into running a 5K in December. This is my second season of coaching (see previous post "Girls Rule" and I love it.

This program is not just about helping these girls learn how to run a 5K, but it teaches them tools to deal with peer pressure, empowerment, and all those other bad things that hit girls between the ages of 8-14.

So, as one may imagine, over time, we get to know these girls pretty well. For me, this season was moving a little slower for me, as far as feeling a connection with any of them. It hit me this past week though.

Last week, I came to Girls on the Run (GOTR - the name of the program) in a really frazzled state. I was dizzy, having trouble remembering names, those darn brain zaps. I spoke of this around the girls, because I told them that I wasn't sure if I would be running the half this past weekend.

It's funny, because sometimes you don't know if they're listening. Not just to this particular story, but anything that we try to teach them.

Well, except for the time we talked about drugs, one of our most important modules we instruct. We spoke about the dangers of illegal drugs, like marijuana, as well as other things, like alcohol and cigarettes, that may be presented to them at their age...what they need to know about it and how to say no. Last season, this was one of the most talked about modules with the girls.

In fact, my oldest, CJ, who is doing GOTR at another site, jumped right into a conversation about drugs and alcohol when she went over that module. I LOVED it. I loved the opportunity to talk to her about something like this with HER initiating it.

But apparently, other parents within my group of 14 were not as thrilled. Can you believe it? Maybe you can and I'm really that liberal of a mom...but I'm not that egotistical, so I can't believe any parent, with 'children' this age, would be upset that role models (i.e. coaches) would provide them tools that would help them (hopefully) not give into these peer pressures.

One parent mentioned being bummed that the word "marijuana" was now in her daughter's vocabulary. Well, I was there when the word was brought up and she knew this word already.

Another said if we had planned to teach any sex education, that she would make sure to keep her daughter from that particular day. BTW, we're not teaching that *and* an overview of the program is provided early in the season -- so technically, none of this should be a surprise.

Anyway, I digress big time.

Back to me...

Last week, I mentioned my dizzying feelings of the day. This past week, when our training was almost over, one of the girls asked me if I was feeling better, if my dizziness was still bothering me. That one 'thing' of her asking me this blew me away. I sensed that she was a bit uncomfortable asking me, like it was a big secret and yet, she asked me in such a casual way with a lot of heart.

Mind you, I love all these girls. As I mentioned before, I think I get more out of this than they do. I hear and empathize with their emotions and their excitement. It's a great age range, right before learning how clouds really aren't puffy soft pillows and yet, reciting literature and history tidbits, as if it were 2+2 (I'm still planning to get a History for Dummies book).

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