● By Digital Media Director
By: Rose Bickett, ‘Hood Magazine
Remembering our Dreams
Can you remember what it feels like to dream big? Are you like so many of us who once had sparkly aspirations that sort of faded as life landed in front of you, or the children trickled in? I can remember dreaming of being many inspiring titles….Professional Singer, Author, Ballerina, Olympic gymnast, Zoologist, and Mother, to name a “few”. I did pretty well at manifesting the
Full-Time Mother gig, and I played around with a few other titles. But, local eight year old Gabrielle Hardie isn’t playing around. A precocious avid gymnast shows us how we might continue to dream big. Or perhaps, even more importantly, her story shines a light on how we, as parents might provide encouragement for our children’s big dreams.
In the beginning
Gabrielle first dabbled in gymnastics at age four when a friend brought her to a class as a guest. Gabrielle remembers being overwhelmed with a great feeling on that day. Her mother Sara Hardie, can still recall the coach’s words to her at the conclusion of that class. With awe, he stated “Your daughter is something special. She should go straight into an advanced class.”
Dedication and goals
Today Gabrielle is practicing gymnastics five days per week and putting in almost as many hours as a full time job, while homeschooling in addition.The most inspiring part; she is enthusiastic, and enjoys every minute! Her coach, and owner of All American Gymnastics Academy, Gene Luke, sees great potential in “Gabby”, referring to her as “quite possibly the best eight-year-old gymnast in the nation”. He says she has already accomplished great things, including making a national developmental pre-elite program through USA Gymnastics. She also qualified for their TOPs (Talent Opportunity Program) team, which is a talent search program testing for exceptional strength and flexibility in young gymnasts. Gene hopes to help Gabrielle reach all her goals as a gymnast, including competing at a Level 9 this year and being accepted into the HOPES program so she can go on to the Junior and Senior Elites, and eventually the Olympics! Gabrielle says she’s taking it a step further in her long term goals, and she’s also going for the Gold!
In her own words
Dreaming big comes with many joys, and of course, challenges too for Gabrielle and her family. Frequent travels, healthy eating, tending to sore muscles, and a “NEVER GIVE UP” attitude are all a part of Gabrielle’s commitment to gymnastics. She says she has a lot of support and loves to hear people cheer her on. Her favorite apparatus is Bars, even though she often gets sores on her hands from the training.
Gabrielle says she wants to be a gymnastics coach when she grows up! In her spare time, when she isn’t twisting,turning, and conditioning, she loves to swim and jump on her trampoline. Her favorite academic subject is Spelling and her favorite food is Steak! Gabrielle has a really big dream of becoming an Olympic gymnast, and she is well on her way. But underneath it all, she’s just a kid like every other kid, and she hopes her passion for gymnastics inspires other kids to give the sport a try too!
Parenting a dreamer
Gabrielle’s hero, and mother (of seven) Sara Hardie, approaches her sixth child’s dreams with a sense of unattached, loving devotion. She says, “As a parent, it's important to nurture each of our children’s passions in a gentle way, and let time direct their accomplishments, to see it all play out. Introduce them to a variety of things and let their own drive take over. Then just sit back to witness and support them. Gymnastics is a marathon, not a sprint. As with many sports, children peak at different times, so the key is to let them peak when they are ready, and let things evolve as their passions do.” Sara went on to say that if Gabrielle decided tomorrow that she didn’t want to partake in gymnastics any longer, as her mother, she would know her place is to support that decision too.