Thanksgiving Guest Blog: My Favorite Olympians

Here’s a Thanksgiving guest blog from Pam Jenkins, President of Powell Tate, a division of Weber Shandwick. Pam is the mother of three daughters and an advisory board member of letterstomykids.org.

Emma, Britt and Dana,

Most people know of you guys for your athletic success. Your trophies, newspaper articles, and triumphs on the field, pool and track are the tangible signs of accomplishment – and it’s hard for me not to share with friends and family, even when doing so embarrasses you.

Not one of you seeks recognition. I have three very humble kids. In fact, you each seem happiest when you can privately enjoy the rewards of doing well. Britt, I remember when you were named to the U17 Women’s National Soccer Team pool, and you didn’t tell anyone. Not even your soccer coach or best friend. You hid from the Gazette reporter when you won Regionals because you felt they’d done too many stories on you, and it was embarrassing. Today you’re featured in the All-Gazette cross country section, the 10th time you’ve made All-Gazette. I doubt you’ll look at it. You never seem interested in looking at the stories and photographs. Or maybe you just want to do so privately. Dana, you won’t even let me say, “good job,” after a great game.

So it falls on my shoulders to do the bragging, posting photos and newspapers stories on facebook and interjecting a quick mention of accomplishments in conversations.

The irony is that the deep sense of pride I feel about each of you has little to do with your athletic feats. There’s no trophy, Emma, for being an amazing person. No badge for intellectual curiosity, work ethic, or desire to make a meaningful contribution to society. But there should be such a trophy and I’d display it proudly! Britt, being an elite athlete is great. But when I look at you, I see an independent, joyful young woman who sees no limits. I still have on my office wall a poem you wrote when you were 10 entitled, “I’m an independent girl who loves to climb.” A metaphor for your life.

Dana, as the younger sister of two high achievers, you can’t measure your own success against their shelves of medals, plaques, ribbons and trophies. While you’re amassing your own, remember that what makes us most proud are the simple things you do each day to show your love for family, your endless humor, your inventive mind, and that quiet drive to achieve.

Happy Thanksgiving to my mini-Olympic team – gold medalists in being terrific young women.
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