... is proving to be quite humbling. I am not a cheerleader. I am not coordinated, and I do not remember things very easily. My first two practices, I forgot things, and tonight's practice was really not very smooth.
But for all my poor attempts at being a really stellar coach, there's much value in what I'm doing. These little girls think that myself and my assistant coach are really cool- sometimes. And they have such open hearts.
Last week I had one of my girls break down in tears and shy away from the group for about a quarter of the practice. She was terrified of the devotional time when I would ask questions of different girls. Great. Coaching fail. It was the second week, and I had already broken a little girl's spirit!
But what started as a bit of an ordeal last week, turned into something much better this week. I spoke with her mom, and tried to make sure that I didn't single her out in any way. At tonight's practice, she was right at my side during the mid-practice huddle, and she smiled for the first time without prompt. She participated in all the cheers and chants that we were doing, and I caught her smiling even more! That made me feel better to see her feel better! I hope that she comes out of her shell more and more, and I pray that I have wisdom in how to relate to her and not scare her back into said shell.
This week another girl got really sad in the middle of practice. So while my assistant coach, who actually knows something about cheerleading, taught the girls jumps, I spoke with my melancholy sweetie. She was overcome all of a sudden with nervousness about the first day of school, and our first game. I got to talk with her and reassure her that everything would be alright and that she would do so great on her first day of school. Slowly her frown turned into a smile, we hugged and she returned to practice.
What I'm experiencing as an Upward Cheerleading Coach is that although I run practices and have to learn cheers, what I'm really doing is building relationships with little girls, sharing truths from Scripture, and helping them see how precious they are in God's eyes. by the end of the season, I will have the opportunity to share the gospel with them all, and I pray that as I love them, encourage them and laugh with them, that they see the love of Christ.
That is of much more value than whether or not I remember cheers or make mistakes.