This comment came from a parent of a child on my daughter’s soccer team. We were standing at the corner of the field on Saturday morning, in what was one of the first cool mornings we’ve had so far this season. She was apologizing ahead of time to me for her loud voice and her constant cheering. I assured her, there was no reason for her to feel the need to do so. She was right, though. She was loud, and she did cheer a lot.
What was great, however, was that she wasn’t inappropriately loud. Sure, she was raising her voice, but she was indiscriminately cheering. She didn’t just cheer for her daughter, my daughter, or the other girls on our team, but she also cheered for the other team, congratulating the opposing goalie on great saves, and praising other players for their hustle.
What was interesting, as I reflected on it, was the fact that she was rooting for everyone. And that made it incredibly easy to welcome her loud voice and constant cheering. If she had been doing it for only one player, I wonder if that would still be true.
I can easily relate this to my work. Those who are supportive of all the great work that takes place in a school or organization are much easier to welcome than those who have a one track mind. We want our learners (of all ages) to feel connected enough with each other to supporteveryone, and help them grow. We never want only a few learners to support each other. Nor do we want learners who support no one but themselves.
We all engage in behaviors that others might find challenging, or off-putting. But, our rationale for engaging in these behaviors has a tremendous impact on how others react. If we pursue these behaviors with the betterment of all in mind, then we’ve gone a long way to showing that support can take many different forms. But, if only a select few, or in some cases, no one’s growth is the focus of our action-taking, then we’ve taken a tremendous step backwards, and have an even longer way to go to make growth a welcome process.