What gets your cortisol and adrenalin coursing through your system? I drove six teenagers four hours to a knowledge competition about horses. One portion involved the kids being in the arena with four horses and “judging” them based on movement, conformation, etc. Coaches, of course, sat in the bleachers outside the arena; we were networking/visiting. All of a sudden, my son purposefully approaches the gate with a loud and clear, “Mama Cindy, we have a girl on the Ground!” Can you say, “STRESS!”
Move and Think
In Brain Gym®, we speak of self-reflecting on life’s occurrences. Notice your response to life events. Categories include:
Move and Think (I got this)
Stop and Think (I’m getting this)
Can’t Move; Can’t Think (Give up)
Can’t Stop; Can’t Think (Try hard)
I instantaneously shifted from my relaxed “move and think” place to a hyper vigilant alert state. I speed walked to the girl who was down before even formulating a plan. I was on auto-pilot–rapid breath, forward posture, muscles ready to react.
She fainted. Water was first; incidentally, Sipping Water is one of the 26 Brain Gym® movements. Carbohydrates were next; food appeared from the event planners. Educational opportunities abounded… the guts of the Educational Kinesiology work is about taking advantage of educational opportunities. So we talked about hydration, the purpose of breakfast, foods for quick energy.
The end of every Brain Gym® session involves post-checks and celebration. Even at this horse competition, I reflected on my reaction and what could be done differently.
First of all, where were the insurance cards? At the very least, I should have had photocopies of those cards AND a signed piece of paper from every parent regarding medical treatment. Accidents happen. People faint and worse. Better to be prepared than sorry.
Secondly, as the coach, I could be a bit more direct regarding my expectations. If you travel with me, you will eat a balanced breakfast. If you are a slow starter, then set the alarm earlier.
Thirdly, speaking of slow starters, my own kids know what it means when “Mama Cindy” says the car is pulling out at 7:15. “If you’re not early, you’re late” is one of our family mottos. Some of these kids are simply not used to independently managing their time. I could improve on setting expectations, “crack the whip” per se and potentially averted the incident by helping with time management and breakfast consumption.
After a stressful event, like a youth fainting in the midst of a couple hundred kids and horses, it takes time to recover. The stress hormones do not magically crawl under rocks when the stress is over. No! Those hormones have to live out their life cycle.
For me, recovery involved talking out all of the coulda, woulda, shoulda’s! I laughed loudly! I implemented an action plan to prevent a repeat for this new-to-braces youngster with a sore mouth. I noted the necessity of checking into my responsibilities and how the 4-H office can support success. And I offered plenty of positive encouragement to all six kids so that they could release their stress and compete.
One team placed 3rd out of 10 senior teams and the other placed 7th out of 24 junior teams. So proud of their resilience!
(c) 2018, Cindy Goldade, In-Motion Intelligence