Hallie came home from school two weeks ago with a packet of information about running for student council. She was conflicted – she really wanted to run, but she was really scared. If I’m being honest, I was 100% supportive of her running, but I was also hoping that over the weekend she would lose interest. I’m not even sure why I felt that way. I was in student council year after year and it was a great experience, yet I felt protective of her feelings and I didn’t want her to be disappointed if she lost. (She would be running against kids from the grade above her.)
Monday rolled around and she came home with all the student and teacher signatures she needed to be a candidate. She had made up her mind, she was going to run for treasurer. When your kid makes up their mind in a situation like this, you become their biggest cheerleader. And Steve and I cheered her on. She practiced her speech over and over again and we made her posters.
Wednesday we went to the school to watch her give her speech. I’m pretty sure I was more nervous for her giving her speech than I ever was standing in front of my own student body. She killed it. She gave the speech just as she had practiced and I was one proud mom watching her fearless confidence on the stage (she later admitted she was scared to death and couldn’t stop shaking.)
The winners were to be announced this morning during the school announcements. I told Hallie to use the classroom phone and call me as soon as she found out. I waited and waited and finally I got the call. I knew immediately, it wasn’t great news. I wanted to reach through the phone, hug her and shout, “At least you tried.” I could tell she was having a hard time not being emotional in front of a classroom of her peers. So I gave her my love and we hung up. I thought about her all day. Her posters were great, her speech was great, there was nothing she should have done differently.
When she got home I got her raw emotions. She wanted the position so badly. I think what hurt more than losing was having her friend win another position and then having her brag about it all day long.
As I was comforting her, I couldn’t help but think what great lessons she learned in this process. She went for something and didn’t get it – rejection never feels good but it’s part of life and its important to learn how to deal with it. She gained confidence in her speaking in front of people. She was forced out of her comfort zone to talk to people she was’t familiar with. She learned (through her friend’s example) that being really happy about something for yourself can be hurtful to others.
And most importantly she learned to not give up. I asked if she thought she would run again, she replied, “Yep.” That’s my girl.