Cheerleader Teacher and Fear
by: m. moser
I've always been amazed at how much I have to encourage a child to TRY something, to make a decision, to share a thought. I wonder, are they being rude? Are they going through a stage? Then I realize... it's fear. Fear of saying or doing the wrong thing and disappointing someone. And I buckle down with my imaginary pom poms.
"I can't." Yes you can! Yes you can!
"I'm going to make a mistake." It's okay! It's okay!
"I made a mistake." Try again! Try again!
Hurray, You did it!
And guess what? You'd think that this would accumulate, but it doesn't! Those poor pom poms have to keep working at the lesson and at home.
One day I had a child not wanting to come in for his lesson. He was around the corner, screaming. Yes, screaming. His mom got him into the room. He wanted to stay right next to mom. He's mumbling incoherently. He's a smart and kind kid, so I'm wondering what is going on? It makes no sense. Then I wonder about fear. He's acting so out of character I ask, did you practice? (I hadn't see him in two weeks) The answer is, Yes. How many days? (I'm thinking, maybe not enough?) They answer ten days. (Not bad!) So, I comfort him and give him permission to set up right next to mom. While he's unpacking, I ask him if he's scared? And he confesses he's afraid he's not going to do well. My heart breaks in two! Seriously, he was so distraught he was not going to do well?! Pom Poms are out and ready to work. It begins, reassuring, small requests that will display his success, encouragement, always finding the positive and requesting refinements. By the end of the lesson, he is smiling and feeling so proud. And no doubt, we'll have to repeat this in some form or another again and again.