It is so critical for young girls to know their worth, yet it’s a concept still forehead-slappingly foreign to society, governments, religions, many men (even unintentionally)–and therefore the girls themselves.
A volleyball coach friend of mine recently posted the following experience on Facebook. With her permission, I am publishing it here because it, and her amazing response, is exactly what I mean. Too often, girls, myself included, approach life with an apologetic attitude, like we don’t deserve space there. We MUST teach them to remove the word “sorry” from their vocabularies (and sports, coincidentally, is a great place to start):
Second day of tryouts and all I kept hearing was “sorry, that was a bad toss.” “Sorry, I’m not good at setting.” “I’m sorry, I just can’t hit very good.” Sorry, sorry, sorry…they just couldn’t stop.
Until I blew my whistle and interrupted everyone and gave a little speech. It went like this…
“I keep hearing all of you saying sorry and I don’t understand why. No one needs to be apologizing for a “bad” toss, a missed hit, a “bad” set, a missed serve. Those mistakes don’t matter. It’s the improvements that matter.
What I see when you start saying “sorry” is something that leads to self-doubt. “Sorry I made a bad toss to the setter, which caused the setter to not set right, which means I can’t hit it right and I’m never going to make it over that net.”
When you do this, you place an unnecessary blame on yourself. Who cares if you make a mistake? It’s practice! You didn’t miss that ball because you suck, you missed that ball because of physics! If you need to blame, blame physics, blame science. Don’t blame yourself.
When you do that it makes it easier for others to blame you and that’s not fair either. Our society has created a messed up norm where females are taught to take on blame that doesn’t belong to them. Females are taught to apologize for pretty much everything. STOP apologizing. You don’t need to say sorry to the ball. The ball does not care. Instead of saying sorry, start saying I CAN DO THIS!
Do males your age say “sorry” constantly when they make little mistakes, or hurt your feelings, etc?
(silence and cricket noises)
Then one voice pipes up, “no, guys don’t apologize unless they have to. They’re boys.”
Me, “Exactly. Our society has taught us that dudes don’t have to apologize, but it’s expected of females. So from now on, this is ‘Dude Volleyball.’ No more saying ‘sorry’. Or you will run.”
After this, the energy in the room shifted from super anxious to machines. Best part…as we were leaving a kid came back and asked “Coach, can we play Dude Volleyball again tomorrow?”
Me, “from now on every day is Dude Volleyball.” This was met with “Woo Hoo! Dude Volleyball rocks!” as she skipped out the door unapologetically happy and excited about practice tomorrow. Yep, not sorry.
Nope, not sorry. Nor should the girls in your life be. So help them to remember that.