In 2021, we don’t talk a lot about the whole “shame” on a family if someone in the family messes up. We are each individuals in this space allowed to be who we are, and if we mess up, well, it’s on us. I think there’s a lot of value in allowing everyone to be an individual and to not paint a wide swath of dishonor on the whole family when one member makes a critical error of judgement or some other horrible choices. However, there is something to be said for tying us into the communities around us; be it the family, the school, the sports team, the nation, etc.
We are raising three daughters in this house with some wildly different personalities. If you’ve dealt with any two of them, you know that to be true. Add the third, and it’s just a lot of differences. I send them to a private school, and it’s often obvious that they belong to that community based on the dress code. They represent that school when they wear those clothes. People in the grocery store (preCovid) would know that a kid from that school let the door slam in their face or if they held the door open. They know if a kid from that school is being obnoxious or well behaved in public.
My kids all play sports/do group activities. They wear uniforms with the team’s name on their chest. Sometimes that name is their city. They represent themselves, the team/organization, Girl Scouts, etc. When they are out and about, they are more than just themselves when they are on the field, wearing the jersey, selling the cookies, etc
I tell them “You wear MY name on your back”. When you act ugly in public, you disgrace your name, my name, your sisters’ names (and let’s face it, your Dad’s because he gave all of us our names). You disgrace your team or organization.
You may be be an individual, but you are NOT a lone wolf. You belong to groups of people who believe in you, in your own innate worth, in your ability to do and achieve. As such, you will act like it. You will look people in the eye, you will speak respectfully to and of one another. You will remember that you wear our names on your backs. And, when are somewhere that is important to one of them, I remind the others they are wearing HER name on her back.
The same is true, though, of when they act well. When they play their heart out, and still thank the other team (win or lose) and the umpire for being there. When they sell the cookies, and look people in the eyes and say (and mean) thank you. When they hold the door open and when they do the right thing. When they don’t throw their helmet or bat, or come off the field after a tough inning and turn around to cheer on their team, they are representing their team. They are wearing my name on their back, and then I’m proud to wear their name on my back.
*Image courtesy of Nicole Lacoste Photography