This week we’ve been thinking a lot about our values and the impact they have on all the areas in our lives. Our values are so important! They determine the integrity of our decisions, the strength of our actions, and the way that we are perceived by others in both personal and professional relationships.
When I was in Elementary School I got to start Pop Warner cheerleading. I loved it! Really loved it! It was so much fun to be able to encourage others while at the same time challenging myself to be a part of a team and to be an athlete. (For anyone who thinks cheering isn’t a sport, we say try it!) My sister Kay also did cheer and even started as our mascot. (It was an unbelievable level of cute!) I guess you could say that encouraging others to be and do their best has always been a part of our family spirit!
When we’d go to games or competitions, the coaches wouldn’t let you bring in air horns or noisemakers. So our parents, who were living on a super tight budget and working towards their own entrepreneurial dreams, would put screws into old jugs that they decorated. They wanted to be able to cheer as loud as they could for us without getting into trouble!
This soon became a trend with other parents too. Whole sections of the stands would brandish their screw filled jugs while we cheered our hearts out. Needless to say, this made our family legendary and I still run into parents who remember us as the family with the noisy jugs!
After many, many years of hard work, our family has managed to rise up from our humble beginnings and we’ve achieved the success we used to dream about. We’ve spent years making huge sacrifices to build our businesses and we’re truly proud of everything we’ve been able to create.
Last year, I graduated from the University of Nevada Reno with my Master’s Degree. For many generations our family only dreamed about getting to go to college and now here I was with my graduation cap getting ready to accept my diploma. Kay, ever the cheerleader, managed to smuggle several noisemakers through security, though she didn’t exactly know that she wasn’t allowed to have them.
As soon as they called my name, my section went wild! They were making all kinds of noise and cheering and making sure that I knew, all the way down on that stage, how proud they were of me. And, of course, security promptly descended upon them and confiscated the noisemakers!
After pictures and dinner and all kinds of celebrating, we went back to our house to enjoy the company of our family. We started joking around about the incident and brought up the fact that we should’ve brought jugs with screws in them instead of the noisemakers. Kay, laughing along with us, said, “Well, we didn’t really put screws in jugs did we? We used beans didn’t we?”
Everyone paused and our dad, Gary, said, “No no, it was definitely screws in those jugs!”
Suddenly the whole family burst out laughing as we started to remember what it was like to hear those screws rattling around in those old jugs from the stands! Sure, we could have simply clapped or waved or shouted, but it was important to our family to really cheer each other on in a big way. We sure didn’t have much back then, but we made due with what we had.
Cheering each other on is a core value we carry with us every day. Whether it’s the people we love or the people we work with, it means so much when you make a little extra effort to let them know that you’re there on the sidelines making a big show just for them. And, if you don’t have the stomach to smuggle noisemakers into a stadium, we strongly suggest jugs with screws!