We All Need Cheerleaders: Encouraging Dreams and Growth at Any Age

Three wonderful young men on the brink of "making it."

Three wonderful young men on the brink of “making it.”

Do you enjoy spending time with your young adult children and their friends? I can’t think of anything more fun than that! Recently, my husband Mike and I traveled into New York City (can you say car, train and subway?!) to visit one of our son Max’s oldest friends. Oliver moved into a fabulous fifth-floor walkup on 116th Street near Amy Ruth’s, a famous soul food restaurant in Harlem. Oliver’s known us since he was in second grade and he invited us for a look-see. After I huffed and puffed up the two sets of staircases per floor (that’s ten flights of concrete steps, if you’re counting) carrying roughly 25 pounds of house warming gifts I walked into the main hallway of what turned out to be a very light and airy apartment with large rooms and high ceilings. Oliver’s place is fabulous. Another of Max’s long-time friends was there too; Max has known Greg since middle school.  The five of us sat around for a long time talking, laughing and telling stories. Conversations ranged from Obamacare, to commuting, to food and beyond. These three twenty-something men are well read, well spoken and a delight to be around.

That afternoon I felt the cheerleader in me stir. For as long as my children have breathed I’ve been their cheerleader. And I am a reliable cheerleader of their friends too. I support these wonderful young people with my undivided attention, encouraging words, pats on the back, warm hugs, food and more. When they are starting new careers in new places, as so many of them are doing now, I want to be right there to encourage them on their way to a successful future.

Have you watched it happen? You are listening to someone, encouraging him, supporting her dreams … his face relaxes, her gestures become larger, grander as s/he realizes you believe in their dreams and plans too. It’s magical to watch the transformation — sometimes subtle, sometimes readily apparent — that can occur when someone realizes they are being listened to, valued and encouraged. It’s the magic that happens when you know you are loved, valued, supported.

As Mike and I commuted back to New Jersey and even into the next day I thought about how important cheerleaders are. And about how important it is for all of us to have cheerleaders in our lives. Do you have someone in your life who listens to your dreams and encourages you to act on them, make them a reality? I hope so!

Sometimes the difference between a big dream and a big reality is the presence of a cheerleader.

Be a cheerleader.


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5 Responses to We All Need Cheerleaders: Encouraging Dreams and Growth at Any Age

  1. Couldn’t agree more Darlene! You’re so right. We all need encouragement, moral support and a little bit of kindness at those times when things aren’t going so well. Remember that time I accidentally knocked over a flower arrangement at the flower show and everyone was just staring at me like in Invasion of the Body Snatchers and I wanted to curl up and disappear? YOU were the one who said, “it’s okay, don’t worry,” and completely made me feel better. I never forgot that, how kind and cheerful you were. So yes–when you say everybody needs a cheerleader I have seen your kind and cheerful encouragement in action, and I know that you must bring it to your children and their friends by the bucketful. And that is exactly what we all need to thrive.

    • Oh my gosh, Fran! What a memory blast from our shared past! And I’m glad I made you feel better, my friend.
      Thank you for your kind words. You touched my heart today.

  2. Barb Best says:

    Shake those pom-poms, Darlene! Great post. You are a wonderful supporter of dreams. Give me a “D,” “Give me an “A,” Give me an “R” …

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