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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Great Lesson I’ve Learned From My Kid…

Life is hard, unfair and at times exceedingly tragic. The reality is that in addition to the uncontrollable losses that we all will experience in live (e.g. varied illnesses, unreciprocated love, unexpected deaths…etc.), perhaps the hardest difficulties are the failures we’re forced to endure at our own hands.

That’s indeed the case for me. I’ve found that the greatest challenges to overcome have occurred when I’ve done everything that can be expected; executed everything that was required; met all of the necessary deliverables; expended resources, time and energy – only to fail.

I don’t care who you are, it’s tough at times to recover from that.

Last week, I witnessed a masterful recovery regarding a potentially devastating failure from the most unexpected individual – a little girl.

A few months back, our 9-year old daughter decided to run for vice president of the elementary school she attends. She thought it would be fun because she served as a class representative to the school’s Student Government Association (SGA) last year and really enjoyed it.

This year’s process was a bit more rigorous and involved. It required candidates to be nominated; then “voted up” from their respective classrooms to the official school-wide ballot; create poster boards; conceptualize a policy platform; engage in limited types of campaigning to ensure equity; draft a speech and then deliver it to the school via its closed-circuit TV station.

After weeks of planning and work the decision day came and the entire school voted – grades kindergarten through 5th grade. A few days after all the paper ballots were counted, the candidates were brought to a school room and were collectively told who were the winners and losers of the races.

Our daughter lost her race.

When I found out at dinner that night, I was heartbroken for our little 4th grader. I don’t know if every dangling, pressed or pregnant chad was counted, but I knew there must have been some mistake because our kid is SO GREAT! I mean, what’s wrong with the elementary school electorate – weren’t they educated on the issues??? More importantly, were they even educated at all – I mean some of those kindergartners can’t even tie their shoes!

All kidding aside, I truly felt bad for Taylor and I asked what happened after the candidates were told their respective fates and the general reaction news. She said a lot of the students, especially the 5th graders who understood the popularity component of the referendum, started crying and carried on quite a bit.  I told her that given the age of the students, that’s to be expected.

I then asked how she personally responded to the news, and she said that even though she was a little hurt and disappointed she enjoyed the overall experience. She then went on to say that she brought all of her election posters home and wanted to hang some of them in her room, so that she could think of ways to improve her chances and focus running again next year! 

I was stunned by her maturity and perspective because not only was she consciously choosing to focus on the future potential rather than the temporary setback, she also wanted to identify and correct possible miscues she may have made.

Ironically, there are adults I know who haven’t yet learned that lesson and continue to blame others for their failings.

Regardless, what my daughter gained in insight from this experience far surpasses what she may have lost at the polls – ultimately helping her in whatever she elects to pursue in life.  Perhaps I should hang one of her posters in my office as a reminder for the next time I’m sure to fall on my face….  


  1. You and Kim have received some serious affirmation by Taylor's maturity in this situation. It's truly impressive for a 9 year old to think that way, especially these days with the "no losers" type mentality of many parents and recreational organizations. I think that "no losers" idea is sheltering kids from the realities of life- I've seen kids break down after losing a game of checkers- can't imagine how they'd handle losing a class election. Bravo, Constantinos!

  2. Well done, Taylor, and hats off to you and Kim.

  3. That is amazing, and is a credit to your and Kim's parenting and example. I also find that inspirational in my own parenting, to exemplify that kind of maturity to my (younger) kids.

  4. Awesome! And well done, parents!

  5. I'm reminded of a sermon where a poor kid prays and prays for a bike. Christmas comes and the bike doesn't, so his folks say they are sorry that God didn't answer his prayers. He promptly replies "Oh God did answer, he just said no". From the mouth of babes.