Spirit is one of the foundational items on the Life Skills Report Card, located under the top category of Personal Care. Popular while it is to equate the term spirit with religion or cheerleading – I included it on the Life Skills Report Card to represent energy. When people’s energy levels are low we describe them as “dispirited”, when they are high we call them” inspired”.
Factor in the ways human health and happiness improves when people live highly inspired lives and it is easy to agree that human beings are hard-wired to be inspired. As with other foundational Life Skills, like interpersonal communication and safety, free will does not mean we get to choose the class – merely the amount of misery we endure until we improve our competency levels.
So how do we empower children with tools for excelling in this critical life skill arena of spirit? What skills did you learn? Who were your teachers? Who are they today?
“We’ve got spirit yes we do, we’ve got spirit how bout you?”
During my “oh so cool” high school years, chanting this popular cheerleading phrase held about as much attraction for me as singing nursery rhymes. As one of five sisters growing up in the era of feminism, I simply did not get the double standard of all-girl cheer squads cheering for all-boy athletic teams. Then God, in all her wisdom, gave me two daughters – one became a competitive gymnast and Captain for her high school cheer squad. The T-shirt she wore read:
“Athletes lift weights, cheerleaders lift athletes.”
Me of little faith. The mistake I made in high school was thinking female cheerleaders had the short end of the stick in the equation. Today, I know that encouraging others to persevere during times of struggle is even more personally inspiring than having others encourage me.
Today, I not only applaud cheerleaders singing their spirit song, I also possess deeper appreciation for the wisdom of my childhood nursery rhymes and sing them too.
“Love is like a magic penny, hold it fast and you won’t have any. Spend it and you’ll have so many, they’ll roll all over the floor.”