The Importance of Holding Hands


I’m not a mother. But I do spend many hours each week with 15 wonderful kids who, if I do my job right, I can have a positive effect on — and I’m not talking about teaching proper edges. They are wickedly smart, they ask hard questions, and they challenge me in thought as much as I challenge them on the ice. It both warmed and broke my heart last night when they saw my “I Voted” sticker and earnestly thanked me. It warmed and broke my heart when they cheered about having a woman president for the first time.

A few days ago, we worked on our traveling circle. They learned that everybody has a role, and every role is important. They learned that it doesn’t matter who is next to you — you hold that person’s hand and you hold on tight. They learned that if someone tries to travel the circle on their own, the circle will break. And they learned that if the circle breaks, you don’t get angry. You don’t place blame. You work with your neighbors to fix it.

I struggle to imagine how my skaters are making sense of today and how they will make sense of their futures. When the next election comes around, they will all be nearing young adulthood. They will have spent some of the most impressionable years of their life under an unpredictable presidential administration that, in it’s campaign, has made it acceptable to hate. To judge. To discriminate. To build barriers instead of holding hands.

So what do we tell them now?

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