To Jeer or Not to Jeer . . .

Grady High School here in Atlanta announced today that it has suspended it’s varsity cheer team for “inappropriate” and “unprofessional” behavior.

Apparently they felt it more important to demean and taunt their opponents and folks from the other school (including parents and administrators), rather than cheer and support their own team and school.

When did we as a society devolve to the point of having to tear other people down?

Is our own self-worth so pathetic that the only way we can feel good about ourselves is to make (or imply that) someone else is worse?

Unfortunately these young ladies learned that behavior. And where did they learn it from? My guess is predominately two sources:

  1. Professional athletes, where it is common place and accepted to “trash talk” before, during, and after the game.
  2. Political candidates, where we can’t have a single day go by where we aren’t beating up our opponent and talking about how horrible they and/or their policies are.

Yes there are others . . . but both of these groups are prominent, get lots of airtime, and (at least in the case of athletes) are looked up to and emulated by our very youngest, and most impressionable.

I know a teacher, actually several, and they share that students have no idea on how to be nice to one another. The day is full of “cuts” and “insults” and “yo mommas”.

Growing up we had our share of insults as kids, and some of them stung and were hurtful. But we also knew how to compliment others, how to be respectful, how to listen, and when we made a mistake, how to apologize and own up to it.

How can we, as a society, start to encourage our youth to be respectful and understanding when full-grown adults can’t, don’t, or won’t? It all starts with one person, perhaps you, and give someone a compliment today instead of a criticism.

And this weekend, when the Rams take on the Patriots, I am hopeful that it is a stadium, a city, a country, and a world that is jeering cheering for their team.

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