Tia Rachael's confessions & lessons from Sports Days 2014

Sports Day at my schools in Jamaica

Each year for the past 3 years Sports Day is a dreaded phrase requiring plenty of energy, sunblock, sneakers and the stress of coordinating children, teachers, parents & other family members. This year I anticipated more stress than usual, with two schools. I knew I would be out cold and voiceless by the end of day number two. Montego Bay was slotted for Thursday, since the school is smaller I thought it would require less energy and we would save the greater stress for day number two, i.e. Kingston. Up at 4:15 a.m. on Thursday I departed my home in Kingston for Montego Bay and was well within the usual three hour trek. With the help of a special Mummy and a great team we were on the ground at our location in The Lagoons and started shortly after 9:00 a.m. It was amazing to see all our kids and their family members. Many of the family members I have never met. It was lovely having them cheer on our young athletes and participating in our parent and family races. What fun we had! The best part was that everything went according to plan (with the exception of the megaphone which wouldn't work). Day two in Kingston saw a later wake up call but a more demanding set up and prep. With sponsors calling re set up, staff coordinating activities, I'm sure you get the general gist. We were able to start shortly after 9:00 a.m. And we shared an amazing day at Hope Zoo with under three hundred adults and close to one hundred children. Smart Eggs, Happy Ice and Neveast added value to our day which my team and I are extremely grateful for. So, what have I learnt from this two day long high? A lot! I've learnt that families are the best support any one can have. Children (big ones and little ones) relish in the attention of their parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, etc. They get happier when they are around. I have never seen so many smiles in my entire life. The kiddies were literally running with their mouths open and eyes squinched. Talk about "glad bag buss." This was definitely the case. Especially with me, when my Mummy and sister came out to take pics and show support. There's nothing like family. The next lesson is that children love being outside. They jumped, skipped, ran, flipped and even roamed aimlessly in the short amount of time they were outside. Green space is important. It's healthy, it provides fun and it is wonderful for families. Third, our children need to compete. In order to score at this game called life our children must learn how to win and lose and cheer on their friends. I saw children running and looking back for their friends, others running because Mummy was cheering on and waiting at the finish line and others even perfecting their form all in the name of a picture. Some children cried and refused to run but all finished their races. Participation is important and interest in sports begin early (like in preschool). It is healthy! The fourth lesson is that of delegation. Being a control freak I like to do everything. Many times getting stressed out for no real and necessary reason. This year, #TeamFun members got involved like never before and under the guidance of Jodi, Rhea, Nursie and the coaches from Ballaz the stress was a lot less. With the help of prayers, focus and a supportive team all went well. Gracias #TeamFun.IMG_0594 Interestingly, many parents lamented at the fact that Sports Day was on a week day and expressed challenges with work. Needless to say all our mummies and daddies found the time or made the time to be with their children and their children's friends and families. Sprawled off in chairs and blankets from home, everyone had a wonderful time at both locations (even the nannies & drivers). The bottom line is that we need more opportunities to bring families together. The energy is important for our children, as is structured and meaningful activities. I feel hopeful again about the way forward and can count on at least the 102 children and their families in Fundaciones two preschools, preKs & Ks. Together we can raise happy, healthy and involved children. All we need is a little energy, sunblock, sneakers and coordinating skills. P. S. I still had my voice on Saturday and didn't pass out early on either night.

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