From “Grrr…” to “Grateful”


Each Thanksgiving is a time to stop and reflect on all of the people, things and opportunities we have in our lives for which we are grateful.

But gratitude is more than a feeling; it’s also an attitude, an approach to how we think about what life hands us. Gratitude is all a matter of how you decide to look at your situation.

So here are some quick ideas to go from “grrr” to “grateful.” Are they a little Polly-annaish? Maybe. But it’s a much more pleasant and thankful way to go through life and it puts into perspective what really is and isn’t a problem. Because, let’s face it. Many of the things we complain and worry about, in the great scheme of things, are made worse by the way we think about them.

For coaches…

When you have to work every session of a meet weekend:

  • Be grateful you have a job that makes a difference in kids’ lives
  • Be grateful you have so many gymnasts who have achieved the skills and have are healthy enough to compete
  • Be grateful for the judges, meet director and volunteers who are all working with you to give the kids a great experience and to make sure that you are fed between those sessions.

When you have a parent who is upset about their child’s progress:

  • Be grateful the child has a parent who cares enough to pay attention to them.
  • Be grateful that the parent is coming to speak to you, instead of just talking behind your back.
  • Be grateful that you have the opportunity to work together to come to a mutual understanding by sharing perspectives.

When you have an athlete who is struggling with a mental block:

  • Be grateful that you have the opportunity to teach a child how to overcome an obstacle—an important life lesson.
  • Be grateful that you have an athlete who is calling on you to be a better coach by having to expand how you teach a skill.
  • Be grateful that you have colleagues to turn to who will give you advice and share how they have managed similar situations.

For parents…

When your child doesn’t get a medal or get moved up a level:

  • Be grateful you are there to be a soft place to land after a hard life lesson.
  • Be grateful that you child is learning about disappointment and failure while still under your roof so that you can help them manage and process these very large feelings.
  • Be grateful that your child now has the opportunity to learn resilience and develop grit—two of the most valuable character traits for success in later life.

When you are frustrated that your child isn’t working to their potential:

  • Be grateful that you have the opportunity to reexamine why your child is doing the sport and if you are expecting too much, hampering their experience or if your child has lost their passion for what they once enjoyed.
  • Be grateful that you have the chance to talk with your child about the positive correlation between effort and outcome.
  • Be grateful that you can teach the life lesson of how your child’s lack of effort/attention affects teammates and coaches and that their behavior does not exist in a bubble but rather influences others as well.

When you are aggravated about the amount of time and money being spent on the sport:

  • Be grateful that you have a child who has a passion.
  • Be grateful that you have the resources to support that passion.
  • Be grateful that your child is spending time doing something that is healthy for their body and character under the influence of good role models with peers who are motivated.

For gymnasts…

When you are irritated that your coach is demanding:

  • Be grateful that your coach cares enough to push you.
  • Be grateful that your coach believes you have the ability to do what they are asking.
  • Be grateful that these difficult assignments will help you reach your highest potential and teach you how to push though difficult things.

When you are sad that your best friend retired from the sport:

  • Be grateful that the sport brought you together in the first place.
  • Be grateful that your friend had the courage to move on from something that was no longer serving them.
  • Be grateful that you have the opportunity to expand your circle of friends by becoming closer to other teammates while still maintaining a friendship with your bestie.

When you are feeling left out because gymnastics requires you to miss a party or a game:

  • Be grateful that you are committed to something enough that sticking with it, even when something that might be more fun in the short term comes around, matters.
  • Be grateful that you have a full life that offers you multiple opportunities which means saying no to some.
  • Be grateful that you understand that the discipline you have today will reap rewards in the future—again, a trait that will serve you will long after you leave the gym.

And please know that as many times as I feel stressed or frustrated as I stare at a blank computer screen trying to figure out what to write about, I am so very grateful to each and every one of you who takes the time to read and share these blogs. It is a privilege I don’t take lightly and one for which I am very thankful, not just today, but everyday!

Happy Thanksgiving!