What We Can All Learn from my 8-Year-Old

Parents... Coaches... Judges... Gymnasts...
DON'T LURK... Join The Discussion!

Members See FEWER Ads!
Join for FREE!
Not open for further replies.


My 8-year-old daughter has been a little down lately. She competed Level 7 last year and did quite well, even winning states on bars. But it seems that she is getting down on herself, and that has me frustrated. I would be satisfied to have her walk away from gymnastics at any time - she has many talents and interests - but she insists that she loves it and wants to continue. It seems that one friend keeps pointing out to her that she has gained an edge over her, though my daughter does not care and only wants to be friends. So, my daughter convinced herself (or was convinced) that she was somehow not as "good" as her friend anymore.

So, we sat down. I asked her to write down on one side of the paper everything that her friend has done that she has not. She wrote down 2 gymnastics skills. I said, "Anything else? Is there anything else that she has done or can do that you can't?" and she shook her head no.

And then I flipped the paper over and I asked her to make a list of the things that she has done that her friend has not. She paused for a moment, and then started writing furiously. After a couple of minutes, she handed me this list:

1. earned my Jr. Black Belt
2. learned to play piano
3. rode a dogsled in Alaska
4. saw the view from the top of the Empire State Building, St. Louis Arch, Seattle Space Needle, and Washington Monument
5. went snowmobiling in Vermont
6. gone horseback riding
7. performed in front of an auditorium at dance recitals
8. volunteered to help others
9. stood on a real glacier
9. ridden an Alpine Slide
10. panned for gold in a real gold mine
11. eaten churros and spoken Spanish in Barcelona
12. gone skiing and snow tubing
13. stood on the top of the Rock of Gibraltar
14. run in a bunch of road races
15. walked on the coast of France
16. saw whales, sea lions, and bald eagles in the wild
17. stood next to Big Ben and saw Buckingham Palace
18. went indoor sky-diving
19. climbed the Great Smoky Mountains
20. climbed a rock wall on the top of a ship

I showed her the side of the paper with the two gymnastics skills written on it, and then I showed her the side of the paper with her list on it. "What do you think?"

She said, "I think I'm okay."

Parents: Don't let your kids grow up in the gym. They only get to be kids once. It shouldn't be about how many hours can you convince the coaches to let them train. It should be about what kind of people you give them the opportunity to become.
  • Like
Reactions: 30 people


Proud Parent
Jul 11, 2008

I could not agree with you more! It is a huge mistake to allow a child to grow up not having experienced more about life and the world around them than what can be found in a gym. In fact, I posted this morning that I have always encouraged dd to have at least one good friend who is not a gymnast. I know from 12 years experience how demanding this sport can be for our dds and how easy it is for them (and us parents) to develop a single-minded obsession with it. I also know and appreciate the fact that gymnastics has many advantages for our dds, both physical, mental and emotional, but there is still much more to life and growning up to be a well-rounded person than just being a gymnast. We must also remember that for the vast majority of our dds this sport will be short-lived, and it will soon be over and then what? We need to be sure that our dds are ready for life after gym, and it sure sounds like you have your dd well prepared.
  • Like
Reactions: 7 people


Proud Parent
Feb 19, 2007
Bigtiny, I just wish there was a "LOVE" button, in addition to the "Like" button!!! What a SMART mom you are! You have handled this beautifully for your daughter. Putting things down on paper really does bring some perspective for her, doesn't it?? I just wish the other little girl had a mom w/the same mindset!!! Oh well... you just take care of your little one and she will be fine!!! Hopefully, your gym will also get some new girls (it's that time of year for switching gyms!), and maybe she can have a new best friend at gym!
  • Like
Reactions: 1 person

gym monkeys mom

Proud Parent
Oct 3, 2007
Out of the mouths of babes is how we learn sometimes.......great lesson on life fro all of us not just our kids. Thanks Bigtiny for it.

We all get hung up on someone having the edge on us we need not too we all have strengths and experiences that make us unique.

Give you DD a high five for learning this so young!! I am sure when she decides gym is done for her she will have many toher things to choose from........because we all know there are very few gymnasts after college..... We all need to live...love laugh.....and experince life but not at the expense of others.

Thanks for your post!
  • Like
Reactions: 2 people
Feb 26, 2007
You get the mom of the month award for that. What a great way to deal with a very tough situation. Both creative and supportive, you are one smart cookie, apple doesn't fall far from that tree.

I agree totally with you, my kids have done so many things and been so many places, which is why gym hours were always limited. A rounded life is so important.

If I could give you a medal right now I would.
  • Like
Reactions: 4 people
Mar 5, 2008
North America
OMG Bigtiny--your post brought tears to my eyes!!!! Your dd is amazing and so much wiser than her 8 years. I would LOVE for my dd to have a friend that is as sensitive, sweet, caring, thoughtful and as insightful as yours. And as I was reading her list of things that she had done that her teammate had not done, I kept thinking to myself "THIS is what it is all about!!" Being able to experience so many different things is really what life and growing up is all about. Who cares about what gymnastics skills you have if that's all you do. I am like you in that I want my kids to be able to experience and enjoy whatever their hearts desire. I want my kids to be able to make a list as lengthy as your dd's and smile and say "Wow--I sure have a fun and exciting life! Look at all the fun stuff I get to do!"

Great post Bigtiny!!! I think we should sticky that post because it is a GREAT REMINDER that life is short and there is more to life than gymnastics. As my signature line says "...and the wisdom to know that it is JUST gymnastics."
  • Like
Reactions: 2 people


Moderator/Proud Parent
Aug 25, 2007
North Carolina
Bigtiny, what a wonderful thing you have done for your DD and in turn that she has done for us here @ CB. Give her a high 5 from me. Glad something good came from a sad experience.
  • Like
Reactions: 2 people


Proud Parent
Apr 14, 2010
Wow, what a list! You are raising her right! My daughter recently won a $200 scholarship to any summer camp of her choice through our school district. She is thrilled and her and everyone we know started plotting about which gymnastics camp she could go to. I stepped in and told her that the scholarship was only for $200, not enough to cover gymnastics camp and encouraged her to look at something totally different. She had been talking of taking a fashion design class, so i circled all of those options in our rec guide and gave it to her. I want her to have other experiences than just gymnastics - that could end at any time and then where would she be if she had only ever done gymnastics? Gasp, she will even miss gym practice to take the fashion design class, but I am ok with that too. She is the type of kid who could easily get totally wrapped up in 1 thing and as the parent it is my job to help her have balance. BIGTINY you have done a great job of that and I hope I can do that good of a job too.
  • Like
Reactions: 2 people


I am adoptable! No? Schucks, I tried!

Sounds like your DD is extremely well rounded. Already at 8, she is well on her way to becoming quite worldly! Gym is a piece of the puzzle in a child's life, but so is softball, dance, school, etc. Life is made up of so much. Every child deserves to be exposed to much in order to find their true purpose. The factor that your DD's list was so long sends the clear cut sign that SHE is what you value and not WHAT she does. More kids need that kind of recognition! Many times they only see their value in their performance. That is a shame in the scheme of things.
  • Like
Reactions: 2 people
Jan 9, 2008
Wow what a great kid and what great things she has been exposed to. This post really hit home for me since my daughter has recently decided to leave the sport. It has been only a short time since her deciscion (not yet 2 weeks) but she has been really okay and happy not that she was unhappy at the gym. She even went to her gymnastics banquet had a great time was not upset and slept over a former teammates house. She has been busy partcipated in group reading contest and enjoying her weekends off. She is still in alot of pain with her heels and wrist (I thought the time off would have improved her pain but we have an orthopedic appointment next week). At first I was worried what will she do to keep herself busy but there is always lots to do with school and I also was worried if she decided to go back how far behind will she be. I realized her decision was the right choice for her and if she wants to go back it does not matter what level she will be or what skills she will have to regain. These things are really not as important as then loving the sport and wanting to be there. Last year this time my daughter was totally in love with gymnastics so you never know what will happen so we should enjoy it for what it is, and also teach them that.
  • Like
Reactions: 2 people


Proud Parent
Mar 1, 2007
LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS! I hope every parent on CB reads this post and things long & hard about the choices they make for their children sometimes. You can NOT bring back their childhood! Hooray for YOU for finding the right balance!!!
  • Like
Reactions: 1 person


Moderator/Proud Parent
Proud Parent
Aug 3, 2009
In The Boondocks
Wow. Sounds like you have a very special little girl. Sometimes they can seem so wise for their years. Very wise to get her involved with so much more than gym. We are trying so hard with our DD but she doesnt seem interested in anything else. We have gotten a membership at the Y and she loves swiming there..but other than that..the gym is where she wants to be. Thank you so much for sharing your story of your very special DD..and sounds like Mom is pretty special too
  • Like
Reactions: 1 person
Not open for further replies.