Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Three cheers for good kids!!!

Our local high school (the one where Joel teaches) has a cheerleading clinic every fall during the second week of school. Which is this week. Bria has always wanted to go, and I have never let her do it. Money issues, blah blah blah. Really, though, the biggest issue with me is that while I don't have anything against cheerleading in and of itself, I do have a problem with all that comes with it.

Anyway, this year I let her do it. I figure it's only for a week, she'll have fun and that will be that. And so far, that's been true. Yesterday I just left her to do her thing since she is so sensitive about being watched and complimented. I hung out with Joel in his office and only snuck to the cheer clinic a couple times to spy on her. She was having fun, and that's what mattered.

Today, I was supposed to be in the auditorium with the drama teacher to help her with auditions, but those ended early and I decided to take Chloe and Sophia to go sit and watch the little cheerleaders with the other parents. Bria didn't really notice me, so it was all fine. And she was still having fun, and that's what matters.

The two moms I happened to be sitting by were obviously former cheerleaders themselves (I know this from their conversation). And just sitting near them made me start feeling all self conscious and high schoolish again. Not because they were cheerleaders, but because they were snots. I promise I'm not making a rash judgment, either. I could hear their conversation. I could hear the backbiting and shallowness that was going on. And these are grown women! It kind of shocked me.

Anyway, that is what I don't want my daughters to turn into. I want them to be down-to-earth, kind, accepting individuals. I don't want them to be so caught up in what they look like, that nothing else matters. I don't want them to feel like they have to be popular (whatever that means) to be a good person. I want them to be themselves and be confident in who they are. I want them to dress modestly and not feel they have to flaunt their bodies to be accepted or liked. I want them to be good and make good choices.

I'm not saying that cheerleaders can't be all of that. I'm sure many of them actually exist. It's just that a lot of the ones I've had experience with are just the opposite. (If you were a cheerleader, don't be offended. You were probably one of the nice ones.)

So, we'll continue this little clinic. And it will be fun. And I will be grateful that Bria will probably be too tall and uncoordinated (like me) to make a cheer squad anyway.
Lara Neves
Lara Neves

Lara is mom to three daughters—two teens and a tween. She loves to share her parenting and homemaking triumphs and failures here at Overstuffed! She was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2015 and has been fighting it ever since. When she isn't working on her mother of the year award, you can find her reading, singing, or taking photos.


  1. Just something I don't have to deal with. It's sad that's how it is though -- there's a rare girl who's a great cheerleader and a great person, but they are rare.
    Perhaps she'd like a soccer clinic next year? :)

  2. It is true, most cheerleaders are that way.

  3. My girls will be way too tall also. I do have people pressuring me to put them in dance. But...I think I will let them decide for themselves who they want to be and what they want do.

  4. Hey Lara,
    Not to not stay withe the conversation. But I lost your e-mail address and this is the only way to contact you.
    Jenny Hardy

  5. Interesting that you want your daughters to be "kind and accepting". From what you said these women did NO judging of YOU! You judged them and yourself the whole time. Maybe if you went in not feeling all high schoolish and went in to make a friend you would see something different. And, NO, I wasn't a cheeleader in high school.

  6. Ouch! That last comment was kind of harsh! It is hard not to judge, especially when your past experiences have made it easy for you to feel a certain way.

    I too haven't had the best experience with cheerleaders so I can appreciate what you're saying, Lara. I think the main thing to keep in mind is that no matter what our children choose to do, we need to make sure they do try to have the characteristics you want for your girls. Especially in the trying teenage years, it can be easy for kids to want to "fit in" and sometimes at the expense of what is right.

    So I wish the best of luck to all of us that are trying to raise children. May we all be able to help them be good and happy, no matter what their interests are!

  7. Dear anonymous,

    You're right about my judging myself. However, since you weren't in my shoes, it is a little difficult for you to judge the situation yourself. I did say "hello" to them when I sat down. I was given the once over and basically snubbed. Their conversation was full of talking about other women in an unkind way. It was awkward for me, to say the least.

    And you're even right about my judging them possibly too harshly. I don't know their hearts, and I only saw their actions for 1/2 hour of their lives. However, those actions did not impress me.

    I have erased my thoughts about what they were wearing and how their children were dressed. In rereading, I realize I come off harsher than I would like to. However, my thoughts on their actions/conversation and the way that made me feel stand.

  8. Wasn't a cheerleader. Would've like to have been. Never had dance or gymnastic classes. Mom always said, "You're a pianist... not a ______"

    I agree with many other people - we all (well, probably all) want those good qualities in our children. I don't think that being a cheer leader or not being a cheer leader will make those qualities in our children be better or worse.

    Popularity, does funny things to a kid. Bria is talented in violin. There was a girl in my high school who actually became very popular because of her skills as a violinist. (Believe it or not). Unfortunately, all the cheerleading snobiness hit her too. And she wasn't a cheerleader. She was just good on the violin.

    The point is - keep teaching your child all that is good and right in the world - and pray that it will rub off on her. And that hopefully, no matter what she does, that goodness will always shine through.

    For the record, I do know what you are saying though. When my girls started dance, I had issues with the snobby dance mommies. But then I realized I was being the bitter nerd. :) For now, we all get along. It is HARD not to judge, and we all do it. (Trust me, everyone does.) It's more of what you actually do with those thoughts!

    Sorry you were made to feel bad though. Obviously they weren't the nicest people - cheerleaders or not.

  9. Loving your response to anonymous; understanding your feeling that way in that particular situation, would too. You're a good mama. :)

  10. I knew some really nice cheerleaders in high school. They were really cute, but didn't seem to be totally caught up in that sort of stuff. I must have been sort of oblivious though, because I don't remember people being snubbed if they weren't part of a certain crowd.

    My problem with cheerleading and many dance groups is the clothing. Frankly, it's not modest, and I will not allow my daughter to wear that sort of stuff. I think it can led to many self esteem problems, and disorders. Not to mention what it does to guys when they see scantily clad girls dancing around.

    It's good to have this sort of thing brought to our attention on occasion though. Then we can refocus our efforts (if need be) to make sure we're doing all that we can to teach our children how to be nice and respectful people.

    And, I don't think you have to worry about Bria. With her disdain for attention, I have a hard time picturing her as a cheerleader. :)

  11. I always chuckle when I go to get M from dance because I am so not the typical dance mommy! It's hard to fit in regardless of age, social status, hobbies, etc.

    I think that sometimes people "elevate" themselves because of the hobby they've chosen.

    It's unfortunate, but it happens. And sometimes, I want to say to MOMS - "Hello, your cheerleading glory days are over!" But perhaps they never learned the important life lessons of kindness, etc., and that's the only way they know how to be.

    Overall, I'm glad B is enjoying herself at the clinic. It's a good experience for these little ones to work as a group, to learn routines, to perform in front of others, and perhaps, to learn that people aren't always nice when they still have their Moms and Dads at home to cry to.

    I'm sooo not looking forward to the teenage years. Really not.

  12. WOW alot to take in. I thougt you might enjoy this site. Rob showed it to me.
    you can cut and paste if needed. I think Joel would like it too.

  13. Lara, I really think the difference between a snotty cheerleader and a cheerleader your daughter could be is the way they are raised. I grew up in CA so there were no LDS cheerleaders and it was obv that they were snotty and "worldy" but i do know some cheerleaders here that are not the "typical" and they are really sweet and loving. Good luck with everything :) You are a great mamma and you know what is best for your kiddos.. Take care

  14. Lara,
    I feel like I need to clear my name. I haven't heard from you yet and I fear that you may think I left that awful comment.
    I feel the same way you do. I had a really good friend in High school, we did everything together, until she joined cheer. After that I was snubbed, she started drinking and it was just awful.
    I do however love to see their performances, for some reason they always make me cry...
    I am sure the situation for you was a very uncomfortable one. I know that you are a really great mom. I remember when we were living on base, you were able to put your girls first and I always admired that about you. I wish I could better at that.
    I don't know if you are able to see who the person is that was anonymous, but I just haven't heard from you and I don't want you to think I left the comment.