When the leaves changed in October 2018, so did my approach with my eldest daughter regarding team practice.
I’d been upstairs doing some work and I heard the door open in the front of the house. Both of my daughters came home through the door.
I was only expecting one of them—my youngest, Jasmine—to be home at that time.
After greeting Jasmine at the top of the stairs, I proceeded to go downstairs to see my oldest, Candace.
Candace was supposed to be at band practice. When I saw her, I first asked her how her day was going. She then proceeded to tell me about how she was stressed and overwhelmed and swamped with work from her classes. At the end of her recounting her day, I empathized with her.
Skipping Out Is Skipping Down…A Slippery Slope
Candace then told me that she had decided to skip band practice
At this point I looked at her and asked, “Did you inform anybody about your absence?”
I could tell by the look of her face that she was not pleased with my question.
Why? Because she knew her answer was “No.” So, she admittedly shook her head.
To this I asked a follow up question, “Did you at least tell your section leader?”
Again, her response was, “No.”
At that point, I empathized with her by acknowledging her stress and what was likely contributing to it. I explained the concept of “team” and accountability, and how being a high school senior had more responsibilities of being a role model for younger band members. Then, I asked her to consider how, in light of her playing-time goals, it was probably not a great decision to not communicate with her band director or section leader.
Showing Up is Showing Up
I’m glad that she felt comfortable enough with me to let that she “…had to decide whether or not she could live with the potential consequences…” for an unexcused absence.
“Showing up at practice
is more important than
showing up at game time.”
– Dr. Deering
After a half hour, she decided to ride her bike all the way back to school and going to band rehearsal.
Wrestling With The Wrestling
As I sat there, I began to wrestle internally with whether or not I had made the proper decision to “call her out” on her initial decision to skip band rehearsal.
Did my empathy extend enough to let my eldest daughter know I heard her pain?
While I was mad at her for skipping practice—she’d worked so hard to get ranks within team and was (in my opinion) skipping out due to poor time management, I still wondered if I was being too hard on her and not sympathetic enough.
There Is An “I” In Team… It Comes Afterwards
I eventually settled on the knowledge and belief that it was better for her character-wise to be with her team.
“The concept of team weeds out the roots of entitlement.”
– Dr. Deering
Two-and-a-half hours later, when Candace got home, she seemed fine and not ticked off.
She proceeded to tell me how the director gave them new music to learn (which she would’ve missed had she not been there). She seemed to adjust and get acclimated to the fact that she needed to get her things together to get her work done.
As her structure, support, and point of accountability, marching band, Candace experienced the importance of communication and the importance of being present with your team.
This learned lesson for Candace carried over into when she auditioned for and joined her college’s marching band. She’s faithfully shown up for “practice” both on and off the field.
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© Dr. Michelle Deering