03-Friendship.jpg"Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them? " ~Abraham Lincoln

This isn't easy, but just think how rewarding it is.

"For the Friendship of two,
the patience of one is needed"
~ Indian proverb

Just like patience, kindness, and respect, friendship is something that we really need to offer to everyone whether they deserve it or not and whether they give it back to us or not.

Friendship is not merely something that happens casually. Friendship takes work, you need to deliberately be a friend, and you can offer friendship to those you wouldn't normally or naturally be pals with.

Coach John Wooden says that friendship has three components:

1) Mutual Esteem- that means that both people value each other. Cheerleaders have to recognize that every squad member is important and needed. No matter how different from you or how annoying someone is, there is ALWAYS something valuable about each and every human being.

"I don't like that man. I must get to know him better."~ Abraham Lincoln

EVERYONE has something good about them, something to offer.

2) Respect- That means. a high or special regard, thoughtful and sympathetic regard. In other words, thinking about others before yourself. You know, "the Golden Rule," treat others as you want to be treated. Every human being is entitled to dignity and respect.

As a cheerleader, it's important to offer respect for your squad mates. Even if they're younger than you or less experienced, or less gifted, or irritating as heck! Even when they don't treat you the way you wish they would. Even when they don't seem to respect you back.

3) Devotion- Webster's dictionary puts it this way: "the fact or state of being ardently dedicated and loyal." You have to choose to stick-with-it when it comes to trying to become friends with your squad mates. Even though it can be hard. Don't give up, see it all the way through. Hang in there. You may end up being surprised. People you you saw as threats or competitors, or annoyances might just end up becoming your greatest allies. Hard to say, maybe even lifelong friends- like sorority sisters.

Give it a try: Esteem, Respect, and Devotion. Try to see the best in them, treat them the way you'd like to be treated, and hang in there and don't quit. Listen to Lincoln. Making people you think you hate or whom you think might hate you into friends- it's truly one of the keys to success.

It really is Coach Wooden's third brick in his pyramid. I didn't just make this up because of whatever issues we're having as a squad. Think of it like the old saying- "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade," there's always going to be people in life that you aren't comfortable with or that you don't get along with- when that happens, make lemonade- figure out a way to make them into friends.

Friendship; Esteem, Respect, and Devotion. If you won't listen to me, listen to Lincoln and John Wooden. It's a major key to success.

Lincoln's Secretary of State, William Seward (who helped us by Alaska from Russia) was Governor of NY and ran against Lincoln for the Republican Presidential nomination. Lincoln's Vice President, Andrew Johnson wasn't even from Lincoln's same party, he was a Democrat- AND a Southerner (remember this was Civil War time). Yet Lincoln made the extra effort to bring these guys onto his team. Be open to trying to find the best in everyone and ANYONE will become a potential friend!

Wooden says that along with his cornerstones of work and enthusiasm, friendship, loyalty, and cooperation make up the FOUNDATION of success. When we collaborate with others, we become far stronger than we could ever be alone. It takes a united effort to succeed, in sports, in school, and in life.

"Be more concerned with what you can do for others than what others can do for you. You'll be surprised at the results." ~Coach Wooden

‎"The time to make friends is BEFORE you need them." ~Coach wooden

Challenge #1: Choose someone on cheer squad you don't know very well (or thought you didn't like especially well) and try to get to know them better. It can be in person, or online or by texting- however. Try to learn one new thing about them each week for the rest of the summer.

Challenge #2: Wooden wrote a book on mentoring. The concept is that we should try to have some friends older than us who can mentor us, some friends our own age, and some friends younger than us that we could possibly mentor. Pick someone on the other cheer squad- if you're Varsity, pick a MS girl, if you're on MS pick a HS girl and try to get to know them somehow this summer- again, doesn't matter if it's via facebook or at the pool or however. Try to learn a few things about them, if you're younger, try to learn something FROM them, and if they're younger, see what you can teach them that will help them in cheer or school.