Career, Gymnastics, Humor

Things You Learn from Coaching Kids

14202653_10202059234678881_4400737576816880853_nYou should NEVER miss out on the opportunity to be around kids. They are enthusiastic about life, eager to learn, and curious about everything. It is through them that we get to see all the good in the world, long after our “adult eyes” have been blurred and tainted by life and experiences. They offer us unconditional love, laughter, and support… asking for nothing in return. Children don’t care about you because of how smart, popular, or pretty you are. Children care about you because they have no reason not to.

Now, I am twenty-two years old, and am pretty new to coaching… ESPECIALLY little kids. I have been coaching for a little under half of a year, and it is certainly a learning process. You learn about kids, and you learn about yourself. With that being said, here are a few things I’ve learned since I started coaching…

When things go awry, laugh and move on. When kids are dealt an unexpected hand, have a mishap, or make a mistake, they usually chuckle and work around it or try again. There are some things in life we just can’t anticipate. Even with a great deal of planning, it’s very possible that life will throw us a curve ball. We just have to greet life’s curve balls with a good attitude.

Play. Playing comes naturally to kids because ‘play time’ is ‘fun time’, and kids love to have fun. As we get older, we forget how great it feels to let loose and play around. There doesn’t always have to be a purpose behind our actions.

How to express your feelings. Kids wear their feelings all over their face. You never have to guess as to whether they are happy, sad, angry, or indifferent. You know the answer immediately just by looking at them. Openly expressing your feelings makes communication easier.

Patience. Need I say more?

Kids are brutally honest. The younger they are, the more honest they are. They don’t know any better than to keep it real. They also tell you everything. I know what they had for breakfast, how many times they blew their nose that day, what their digestive habits have been like, what they want for dinner versus what they are having for dinner, etc. Oh, and yes, parents… I know a lot about you, too. Basically, kids are funny. (Stay tuned for another blog post dedicated specifically to the things “my” kids have said.)

How strong your immune system is…or is not. As soon as cold and flu season hits, the kids are sick. And if you think ‘five year olds’ have the sense not to put their hands in their mouths and noses, and then usually on you, you’d be wrong. You can live on immune boosters, but when you coach multiple classes of kids anywhere from age three and up a day, well, let’s just say the odds are stacked against you.

Scars are badges of honor. When a child breaks a bone and gets put in a cast, or if they fall down and cut themselves, they show it to everyone and they wear it proudly. As we get older, we hide our scars, and our wounds become our secrets. We don’t want to be seen as weak. But what children recognize is that scars aren’t signs of weakness, a scar is a sign of strength and survival. A story to tell. An accomplishment.d18c69cc018c15330f9d125553263da9

How to be strict in your very nicest voice. I haven’t quite mastered this (or so I’ve been told), but you are supposed to use a commanding tone. Firmer and louder than normal, delivered in a military manner, but not overly harsh – a good leader who is a little demanding while calmly in control. As I said, I haven’t grasped it just yet.

How many ways you can say “butt” without actually saying “butt”. When you work with kids, saying “butt” is kind of frowned upon. At the same time, though, you need to be able to tell them to squeeze their butts on a regular basis. So, you learn alllll the other ways to say “butt”. Bottom, bum, booty, caboose, behind, seat, rear, tush… Oh, yeah. It happens.

Working with kids is something everyone should experience. Whether or not you want kids of your own in the future, the things you learn are invaluable. You learn patience, understanding, and how to make your rules and stick to them. You also learn to appreciate the little things that make kids, kids. Whether it’s a group of six year olds giving you a hug in the middle of class, a kid who is genuinely excited to see you, or just something they say or do that makes you laugh, it’s a challenge and a learning experience on a daily basis.
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