Dear Softball Girls – Be the Solution!
Today, we take a short detour from our softball affirmation in the hopes that we can reach our girls on the field in a different way. Reminding them that they are all more the same than different. Reminding them that the choices they make every day in their life, from what they text others to what they choose to post on Facebook, are slowly AND surely are a signature of character.
Maybe you have heard, maybe you have not. But a young girl (maybe the same age as you), just this week, jumped off a tower to her death because she was being picked on by classmates. She had already changed schools, and yet in the typical girl cliché, 2 girls ganged up with one another and continued to harass a peer via social media. And she just couldn’t take it anymore. And now, she is dead!
For you kids, growing up with all this social media, your lives take on different shapes from any other generation before you. We ‘get’ that. But it STILL doesn’t give anyone the right, to be mean-spirited. The false courage you feel behind a computer screen is just that….false. Using it to hurt others makes YOU weak.
YOU SEE, it is UP TO YOU, to set limits and boundaries, to strive to be a good and decent person, to treat others how you would want to be treated, to be compassionate and empathetic – even though writing words to others from behind a computer screen or smart phone seem easy, convenient and inconsequential.
JUST like your performance on the field does, YOU MAKE AN IMPACT ON OTHERS.
Ask yourself, what impact are you making? What impact will these words, this post, this text, this picture have on myself and others?
Girls have a tendency to hate on one another. Just because this girl on girl meanness and ‘tendency’ exists doesn’t mean that its okay. There are a few things that you need to know as you set out in your life.
And the first is that you don’t have to like everyone, and not everyone in this world is going to like you. And you know what – WHO CARES? The sooner you realize this, the better off you will be. Quit trying to please others. Quit trying to make others like you. Quit trying to make the people you don’t like fit into your neat and tidy little box of what you deem acceptable.
This whole idea that you were taught in kindergarten that you have to be best friends with every person in your class, is just not true. Seriously, you were LIED TO. That mean kid in kindergarten who pushed you of the swing? You had every right to not like that kid, even though adults told you to ‘be nice’ and ‘be friends.’ When that girl in 2nd grade told you she didn’t want to be your friend, you had ever right to be hurt and not like her anymore. But my GAWD girls, if you don’t like someone, okay – choose to CUT YOUR LOSES and quit paying so much darn attention to them. Otherwise, people will tend to think you are just a hater, or jealous of this person!?!
Adults don’t like everyone they meet. It is okay to not like another person. Part of life is not gelling with others. Just make sure that you don’t like others because of your personal experience with them, and not because of rumors. In other words, you have to try the asparagus casserole before you can decide you don’t like it. If you make decisions based on assumptions and second-hand information – your life will be limited by walls that you, and only you create. This is true with people too. Most of the time, you will find that you and the people you don’t like are more the same than different! And if you don’t care to find this out, that too is okay – but that doesn’t give you a hall pass to be a jerk.
NOT liking someone doesn’t mean you cannot co-exist, pass and repass. NOT LIKING someone is not an excuse to become a thug, or be rude, or indignant, or hurtful.
Think about some of the teams you play. During your games, you don’t ‘like’ those other girls. You are honed in on the fact that you competing with them, and yet you remain respectful (hopefully), and still do your own thing. You pass and repass, and don’t set out to harm or hurt one another. So should it be in your life. This isn’t being fake. This is learning to live and let live. I bet there is a girl on your team right now that you don’t particularly LIKE. But you still play together, right?
You also need to know that having 1-2 quality friends, beats the living heck out of having a pack of friends that talk behind your back. There is no such thing as being popular. “Being popular” is a perception that you have to BUY into, in order for it to exist. If your friends are talking about other people behind their back – you can bet your cute little softball butt that they are talking about you too. If your best friend will lash out on social media and bully a girl in your class – she’ll do the same thing to you one day. Choose wisely girls. USE. YOUR. BRAIN.
I would also recommend that you learn the 24 hour rule. If you and a ‘friend’ are arguing, if you have had a disagreement, if you are upset or hurt, or feel offended or cheated by another person – don’t react too quickly.
Technology makes it too easy to react in a singular moment, and once those words are out there – they can never be erased. Allow yourself 24 hours to process, talk to an adult in the mean time, and think about the consequences of your words and actions.
THIS IS YOUR #1 RESPONSIBILITY IN LIFE. YOU ARE ALWAYS AND ONLY RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR REACTIONS, not the actions of others.
You will find that the view from the high road, is often much, much better in the short-term, but especially in the long-term. Some days that road may be lonely. But its more important to be on the right path alone, then surrounded by others on the wrong path. Knowing right from wrong, separating yourself from what you see or know is wrong. Now that takes COURAGE! Now, that is a sign of strength!
Sure, holding back – refraining from answering a text or lashing out on Instagram or Facebook takes discipline, because it’s just so darn easy to do, right?
But you can do it, just like you have the discipline at the plate to foul off bad pitches, lay off the high balls, and work a 3-2 count, you can develop the discipline to hold back from hate-texting the girl who pissed you off.
In fact, when you disengage from these heated moments and discipline yourself to think them out – you can take on a new, more self-serving perspective. You know what might help you in these moments of high emotions and frustration – going out in the yard or to the cages and hitting the snot out of some balls!
Will this matter in 5 days, 5 weeks, 5 months, 5 years? Seriously!?! So some girl in your grade is ‘dating’ the same boy you dated last week. Will it really matter in the 5-5-5-5? If not, let it go. If you don’t, the only one it consumes, infuriates and hurts is YOU! You are not a victim.
Last but certainly not least – remember this! This is true for every part of your life, whether you are walking on brick dust or not!
WHEN YOU SEE A PROBLEM, YOU AUTOMATICALLY BECOME PART OF IT.
BE. THE. SOLUTION.
One of the beautiful things about playing softball today is not only are you actually acquiring physical, face-to-face relationships with others (which is fast becoming a lost art of our culture) you are also learning how to work out differences on the field and learning how to work with others. Use those lessons gained and allow them to spill over to the other parts of your life as well.
A girl is dead. She’s not the first and she certainly won’t be the last. Please, let’s make being responsible and respectful online become ‘cool’ again! Be the solution.