I recently had the life-changing opportunity to coach a few girls at Sharpe Elementary through Girls on the Run. Although it has only been a few weeks, there are several heart-touching moments that reinforce my decision to coach this particular group of girls. However, there is one profound moment that left an indelible mark on my mind.
It was another GOTR Tuesday at Sharpe Elementary, and the girls were as energetic as they were excited for our new lesson. As we gathered in the library, the girls conversed in several groups and shared laughs over the events of the day. Soon, it was 3:30, and GOTR was officially in session. Our curriculum for the day was designed to address the issue of negative self-talk – a challenge that many of us, regardless of age, wrestle with daily. The girls and I gathered in a circle, ready to embark on an emotional journey.
According to one of the activities for the day listed in our GOTR curriculum, the coaches asked the girls to take a moment and write down the negative comments they often make to themselves. As they put pen to paper, I couldn't help but notice the seriousness in their expressions. Each girl confronted her inner critic, putting into words the self-doubts that had held her back. Many of the girls shared comments related to physical attributes, demonstrating just how early societal pressures can seep into young minds. These comments were a stark reminder of the importance of programs like Girls on the Run, where we aim to instill self-worth and resilience, while promoting physical and mental well-being.
Then, there was one girl, whose honesty shook me to the core. She called me over to her table and asked me to spell out the words in the sentence “I am not a good reader.” There was a certain sadness in her voice as she made this request, and I couldn’t help but think about what instances may have caused her to develop this perspective of herself. I realized that she was measuring her worth based on her struggles in reading.
It was a stark reminder of the immense responsibility we carry as mentors and coaches.
Then, something truly beautiful happened. As she bravely read her comment aloud to her partner, her partner, with unwavering kindness, encouraged her and gave her a heartfelt hug. It was a simple yet powerful gesture of solidarity and empathy. In that moment, I realized that the bonds formed among these third to fifth graders were not superficial. They weren't just teammates; they were family. They supported each other through vulnerabilities, lifting each other up when self-doubt threatened to pull them down.
As a coach for Girls on the Run, I am not only helping them achieve their physical goals; I am helping them discover their inner strength, empowering them to break down barriers, and witnessing the beauty of authentic connections. This journey continues to be a source of inspiration, and I remain grateful for the opportunity to mentor such a beautiful team.
Until next time!