When Your Daughter Wants to Be a Cheerleader

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“Cheerleading? Really?”

My husband and I glanced at each other in disbelief. We never thought that two sports-watching, hockey-fanatic, referee-hollering, jocks would produce an offspring who would make this announcement:

“I want to be a cheerleader!” 

We pulled up the corners of our mouths and forced out squeaky phrases like, “That’s great to try something new!” and “It’ll be good exercise…”

Our mouths moved while visions of short skirts, hot-rollered hair, and over-sized bows flashed through our minds and tugged at our nerves. For years, we passed judgement on girls who would choose to stand in between fans and their players, wiggle their fingers in the air, and make unnatural faces to get attention.

Suddenly, we have to figure out how to live with, support, and love one in our own home.

But it’s easy, really, because she’s our daughter. We love all of the things about her that will make her a great cheerleader: her fun personality, her bouncy energy, her contagious smile, and even her loudness. Of course, cheerleading. I should have seen it coming.

Now don’t get me wrong. I have many friends who were cheerleaders, and I certainly don’t think cheerleaders are the enemy. But my daughter?

Sometimes I forget that my kids aren’t supposed to be miniature versions of me. They’re wired with their own interests, desires, and goals, and it’s okay if theirs don’t always mirror mine. In fact, it’s better.

When we are forced to see the world in a different way, it helps us see a bigger Creator with a bigger purpose.

We’re so quick to forget the point. We aren’t here to hustle up and down the court toward an end goal. But we aren’t called to watch the clock tick toward victory from the bleachers, either. The whole reason we are at this game of life is to stand in the gap so that others may know Him.

We’ve already arrived and have the victory. So, all there is left to do is shout His message, wave His promises, and cheer each other like crazy.

Maybe my daughter understands better than I do.

Her life reminds me, every day, that we serve a God who can take the DNA of two people and create another with completely different gifts and interests. He can use every personality, temperament, and skill-set to advance His light into the darkness.

Her announcement reminds me that she’s the daughter of Another, and my role is to help her discover how she is uniquely equipped to follow His plan, not mine.

… And His plan is big enough to include cheerleading. Even cheerleading. 

But what about the sexism, the objectification of girls, the inappropriate clothes and movements? The idea of these things makes me want to say no, to lock her away and protect her forever.

But if I kept her out of the world, even the imperfect parts, then two of His children would be hiding their gifts. However, if I allow my daughter to be on the squad, and offer to be involved in such a way that I could be a blessing and an influence…  then both of us would be glorifying Him, right? Two daughters using their gifts in humility and to the glory of God.

Perhaps the enemy won’t use this youthful energy and these loud voices for his purposes this time…

So, with much prayer, I’ll roundoff my way into a the world of basket tosses and cradle catches. I’ll learn to appreciate the cheers during the games and be the first fan to “make some noise” when the pom poms shake toward my section.

I’ll marvel at how God can, at the same time, use a loud, bouncy girl with a high ponytail and an athletic, middle-aged mom with a tired bob – both for His Glory.

So that others may know Him. 

And that’s something to cheer about… don’t you think?

All your works praise you, Lord;

your faithful people extol you.

They tell of the glory of your kingdom

and speak of your might,

so that all people may know of your mighty acts

and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.

Psalm 145:10-12

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