I have to wonder what do I really want for my daughter. Not from her, but for her. As a gymnast, as a child. And the first thing that always comes to my mind is that I want her to be happy. Happy with herself, happy with what she is doing. Yes, I do want her to succeed, but I firstly want her to be happy. And lately she has not been happy. She still loves gymnastics as much as she did from the beginning, but she has been sad and unfulfilled.
My little one, is a quiet child. Not that she does not have things to say, because she does, and the things she says are well thought. But she rarely complains. And because I am not allowed to watch her at training, I had no idea what was going on. I could see that her eyes lost the sparkles that were so much her, but when I asked her, she said nothing. Until one day, about a month ago when I tried to rush her to get ready for her training session and she just exploded. Needless to say, it left me speechless. Not so much her anger, which she was entitled to feel, but the bitterness and the complete loss of confidence that came up.
Leyla was always a very confident child. In a very quiet way. But a child that could not conceive the fact that there might be things that she might not be able to do if she really tried. She was always a very quick learner as well. Not that she ever showed off the things she learned, but when the opportunity was there, she would express her educated opinions in a confident manner. So it came as a shock to me when she screamed that she is no good. Once that she calmed down enough, she was able to explain to me that the coach was putting her down and ignoring her between put downs.
Leaving aside the insane number of hours she spends in the gym and I spend waiting, leaving aside the crazy amount of money I spend to have her in the international program, forgetting about talent and determination, at the end of the day we are talking about a not yet seven year old child that is entitled to be treated with care and respect. She wants to be a champion, which considering all the put downs was never going to happen. I, on the other hand, want a happy, healthy child. And she stopped being so.
As a parent, it leaves me with two choices. One of them is forgetting about it all and pull her out of gymnastics completely, giving her the chance to just be a child. A valid choice all considered, except that we are talking about a child that spends her lunch break teaching her school friends gymnastics, a child that does cartwheels with he school bag on her back, a child that lives and dreams gymnastics. Or we can change clubs. Go further away, through insane traffic...
I left the choie to her, because it is her life in the game, not mine. She chose to look around, see how other clubs work... She ended up choosing a small club, with a tiny international program... And because I want her to be happy, that is the club we are going to.