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You are RESPONSIBLE for the energy you bring.

“It’s ok to have a bad day, it’s not ok to splash that bad day all over everyone else”

When I was young there was a rule in the studio, on the rink, in the pool. It didn’t matter where you trained, it was the same.

“Leave your problems at the door”

We all knew what this meant. It meant that our personal lives, our feelings, our bad days were to be left outside the building. We came to train and that was what we were going to do. Don’t get me wrong, we had fun and we laughed and I loved every minute of my time. We can’t do things that way anymore. The mental health movement means that we cannot tell students to leave their “emotional baggage” at the door. We need to be more mindful of our students' mental and emotional well being, and I am an advocate for that.

That said, I also believe that getting out of your own head for a while and immersing yourself in the physical activity allows your brain to stop thinking, and sometimes obsessing, and things can actually shift. You can see solutions you couldn’t before, you can have a perspective that maybe you didn’t before.

I love that my students feel that my studio is their happy place, it’s the place they feel most safe to be themselves. I am actually quite proud of that fact.

Everyone has a bad day now and then. EVERYONE! We have a saying in our space that goes like this:

“It’s ok to have a bad day, it’s not ok to splash that bad day all over everyone else”

We care about who they are and how they feel.

We are also teaching them they are responsible for the energy they bring to space.

One way we do it is our 10 second story.

Instead of standard attendance we run a 10 second story. It gives each kid time to say what’s happening with them. We get stories like:

“I had bologna for lunch but mom put it on whole wheat bread….gross”,

“I failed a math test today”

“My parents are getting divorce”

“My mom’s having another baby”

“I got bullied today”

Our goal here is to make sure our kids get a chance to be heard. A chance to say something important to them out loud.

It’s not our job to do anything with it but let them know they were heard.

“Wow that was awesome, self-high-five”

“Did you learn anything from that experience?”

“That’s crap-tastic, need a hug before we start class”

That’s it. Being heard is the only goal here. Letting them know they are seen.

Then we get on with the business of learning to dance, skate, flip, kick, swim.

When a student comes in with a perpetual dark cloud over their head, this is where we run into issues. Their friends start to avoid them because the energy they bring weighs heavy on the entire space. The ‘splashing’ starts to happen. This only isolates the student with the cloud even more, which is exactly the opposite reaction they are hoping to elicit.

We as teachers and coaches have to make sure that our spaces remain a safe and happy place for EVERY student. We want to honour a struggling kid, but also honour every other kid who is impacted by the energy brought into the space.

That perpetual cloud can be a sign of a bigger mental health issue. If you are worried, then it’s time for a conversation with parents. Kind, scheduled conversations.

Looking for tools to help kids identify their energy and decide constructively what to do with that energy? We’ve got a new tool coming soon to do just that! As soon as it lands, you will be the first to know!

Also tune into our Stellar Human podcast if you are trying to lead and grow teens into Stellar Humans. Teens can be tough and it really does take a village, and this podcast is for the village. We've got amazing guests, tips and tricks, practical advice, and no-nonsense information!

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