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Friday, October 28, 2011

Amazing a 10-Year Old

The Same Poster My Daughter Used When She Lost
Last Year, But Won This Year, Hung in Her Room   
I'm as proud as can be. When I got home from work last night I was told by our exuberant 10-year old that she had won her election race to be Vice President at her elementary school.

But that's not what makes me proud of her.

What makes me proud is that the photo insert you see pictured here to the left "Taylor C. for VP" hung in her room for the past several months when she LOST the very same race for Vice President last year.

Even though she lost the election back then, she believed in herself and persevered to win now. While the accomplishment is good, it's her character that's truly inspiring.

If you're interested, you can click on the "read more" link below for the original post from November 16, 2010 I wrote about her loss, and how she handled it with grace and maturity beyond her years.

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 to the news. She said a lot of the students, especially the 5th graders who understood the popularity component of the vote, started crying and carried on quite a bit - which is to be expected given their maturity level.

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 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.....  

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