St. Louis, MO (KOIN) — It’s a reminder. A prayer. A hope. From a mother to her daughter. And to the generations to come.
“When things get tough and people don’t believe in you anymore, then you just keep pushing and things will happen,” said Gina Chiles, whose daughter Jordan Chiles is on Team USA gymnastics heading to the Tokyo Olympics later this month.
That lesson is one Gina has had to watch her daughter learn the hard way.
Jordan’s journey to realize her Olympic dream was a road paved with self-doubt and obstacles that caused her to nearly quit the sport. Which is when Gina came up with a story about her “Chick.”
“I had really specific ideas,” said Gina of the story that became a children’s book called Dream Big Little Chick. “Definitely wanted a chick because Jordan’s nickname is ‘Chick’ and I wanted her to have Afro puffs because that’s Jordan, like, period.”
“I came up with a story when Jordan was not feeling gymnastics, it was just kind of a tough time,” Gina recalled. “So I wanted to base it off of her journey and her story.”
Illustrated by Gina’s daughter-in-law, the story follows the journey of the ‘little chick,’ as her parents encourage her to ‘dream big.’
“After trying many different things Little Chick decides that she wants to become a high-flying gymnast and quickly sets her focus on the Animal Olympics,” reads the book’s description. “She is so excited about it, she decides to share her dream with her friends at school. Sadly, her friends make fun of her and she starts to doubt that her dream is possible.”
“Momma Chick comforts her Little Chick and encourages her to keep trying and not give up. Little Chick focuses and works hard to achieve her hope of going to the Animal Olympics. With the help of her family, she believes in the power of her dreams!”
“I wanted that story to go to my grandkids and other little kids,” Gina said.
The story was not only for the generations she’s helping lead, but also for herself.
“I’ve put this on the back burner forever and ever and ever, wanted to do it for so many years,” said Gina. “It feels pretty awesome, just because each one of us, every single person, has something that they want to do and they want to accomplish. It’s really easy when you become a parent to push everything you want to the back burner because you do, you want to push your kids to excellence and to greatness and you want to support them as much as you can.”
With her children all grown, Gina’s book is inspiring her grandchildren for its message. It’s inspiring her “Little Chick” by its very existence.
“This was something she’s always wanted to do and so actually seeing it in person and accomplishing something that’s been her dream is very amazing,” said Jordan. “I got overwhelmed when she first told me the story and what it was all going to be about.”
You can find Dream Big Little Chick here.