Dare to Stand Alone

My kids recently watched a little video about “Daring to Stand Alone”. The key concept being, don’t be afraid to stand up for what you think is right. Often times, you will see, you aren’t even alone; others will often follow you.

Or not.

I had an experience last week, where I stuck my neck out and stood up for something. It had to do with Zach, and some soccer politics. I wish I could just stay quiet sometimes, but when it comes to my kids, I’m not one to let things slide.

I sent an email out expressing my concerns to the large group of parents of the team, as well as the coach and manager. I knew my views were ones that most parents shared (as we had talked about it the night before), but I also knew the coach and manager might not be too happy with me.

I got so many responses from parents – privately – letting me know how they appreciated my email, how they agreed with it, how they were grateful I had spoken. Interestingly, not one person cc’d the coach, letting him know they supported me.

I was alone it appeared.

The coach responded, and basically said (in nice enough terms) to mind my own business:))

Fair enough. I guess he doesn’t know me well enough because when it comes to my kids, it IS my business. Always.

At any rate, a couple hours later, the coach asked me to call him. “Uh oh” I thought. He’s really mad.

But he wasn’t. We had a very lovely conversation – where he in fact wanted to know about our schedule as he was moving practice and wanted to try to accomodate OUR family.  We talked about my perspectives, we talked about his perspectives, I shared my views, he shared his, we brainstormed ideas, and we vented.  We left the conversation with a little bit more understanding, empathy and respect for each other.

I was so glad I had dared to stand alone.

But something struck me.

We worry so much about our kids “doing the right thing” or “withstanding peer pressure” or being good leaders, being honest, openly communicating, “daring to stand alone”. How can we teach this, when often as adults we don’t follow the same advice??

I knew that other parents felt the same way as me. They had even sent me emails telling me this! Yet, no one was willing to put themselves on the line with me. I stood alone.

I get why. I get that they were worried that by supporting me, it might ruin their relationship with the coach. Or maybe they didn’t agree with everything I said. Or they were worried that their kid would be targeted because they spoke up. I get all the reasons why.

But our kids give us those very same reasons too when they are facecd with situations in which they may NOT make the right choice, or they follow peer pressure, or succomb to a leader that is not necessarily leading them down the right path. But hey, how can we expect them to dare to stand alone if we don’t ourselves?

I was so happy that day that I dared to stand alone. It did work out with the coach  (and lots of modifications and discussions ensued that were triggered by email) – but even if it didn’t, I hopefully taught my kids a valuable lesson: be honest, always communicate, stand for what you believe in, fight for the cause, and dare to stand alone.

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