A couple of weeks ago I wrote about sympathetic gratitude, my way of making my brain follow my mouth in showing happiness for the successes of others.
What I aspire to be through gratitude is a cheerleader.
Not in the sports sense…but yeah, kind of in the sports sense.
I want to cheer people on from the sidelines, and show genuine enthusiasm for their success and concern for their failures.
To me, those are the most admirable people in the universe. Those who give of themselves, and place others on their shoulders so that they might reach higher. Each of us who’s accomplished anything had at least one of these people behind us.
I can think of at least a dozen people who have done so for me. My parents, Maggie Stroud from Jenks East Elementary, Dr. Charles Trevathan (RIP), TJ McCloud, Ab Colby, Summer Millican, Gary Toyn, Steve Shoell, and many more. Each of these people cross my mind regularly.
I’m motivated by their encouragement. I’ve done near-impossible things because of them.
I see them in my own kids’ lives as well. Nathan just finished a year with a third grade teacher in his mid-50’s, and you can just feel the man’s passion to see the kids excel.
He’s not paid well, I’m sure. He gets a ton of shit from bratty kids and ever brattier parents. That’s the life of a teacher.
But there he is. At class. At their soccer games. At their musical performances, and their after school parties.
He wept on the last day of class, and many of his students wept with him.
He is the man in the arena. And every kid he comes into contact with will be better off for it.
I can’t be him, as much as I’d like to be. But I can emulate his dedication and selfless service.
Hopefully the next time you see me you’ll walk away feeling better about what you’re doing, or having come into contact with me.
That probably hasn’t been the case in previous interactions, but I hope to change it moving forward.
Now give me a damn pompom.
(Male cheerleader image courtesy of Stuart Seeger)