Last year when Anna's teacher sent home papers about running for class representative Anna threw it in the trash.
When I discovered that they were in the middle of presentations & elections I asked her about it and her response was a panicked, no way mom. I am NOT doing that.
Anna has a tendency to shy away from and resist anything that puts her in the spotlight. Which totally makes me scratch my head because she has the brightest, goofiest, hey-watch-me-while-I-make-a-crazy-face personality every single day of the week!
I told her right then that next year, in 4th grade, when those papers come home I want to see it. And I want her to at least TRY.
So the papers came home last Friday and she begrudgingly handed them to me, already knowing her fate and what was ahead of her. Anna you will be great at this, I assured her. And even if you don't win you get to make a cool powerpoint presentation and that will be fun!
ok. [insert grumpy face]
She sat down at the computer, opened up PowerPoint, and stared at the screen with her shoulders slumped and a kill-me-now look on her face.
I left her to it and didn't bother her.
The next day I saw her at the computer again. And the next day. By Sunday afternoon she began sharing her ideas with me and there was a hint of excitement.
Monday rolled around and somewhere a switch flipped. She was sitting at the computer, tinkering with her presentation every spare moment of the day. She scrolled through iPhoto and found photos of herself to insert into the slides. She was talking about it nonstop and came up with an idea that could be an addition to the Be Kind program at school.
Tuesday she was persistent, "Mom you have to sign the parent permission form! It's due tomorrow!" More planning and the excitement was definitely building. She came home and made a t-shirt to promote her school initiative - a program to encourage kids to say "hi" to each other and be friends.
Wednesday I picked her up from school, "Mom thank you so much for making me do the Class Representative. I'm having so much fun with it." Quiet fist pump - oh ya! After Activity Days she collected scrapbook paper and ribbon and sat in her room for an hour creating 29 "Vote for Anna" ribbons. And later added a Starburst to the back
Thursday the powerpoint presentation was ready to go. And the nerves began to set in. She practiced the whole presentation several times, I suggested she add a fun chant/song to the end, we downloaded the power point file to a flash drive and gathered her t-shirt, ribbons, homemade posters, and notecards.
This morning she was SO nervous. The kind of nervous where every little thing, and every little help from mom would set her off. Ah! While driving to school I tried to assure she would be great, but she said, "can we not talk about it?" Ok. With a kiss and hug I sent her off and hoped for the best, knowing it was going to be a long, stressful day for her. Presentations would be given during the last hour of school.
This afternoon I stood at the corner as she came across the crosswalk, carrying her basket of campaign materials, with no expression on her face.
As she neared me she spoke in a flat tone, "Class Representative."
"I got Class Representative."
I beamed, Anna that is so great!
But her expression was still blank. And her mouth tight-lipped.
Are you okay, sweetie?
"When they announced the winner Sienna started to cry and I felt bad for her. When we lined up to leave I gave her a hug and told her that her presentation was awesome."
Well guess who wants to cry now? Me! Holy cow, I was so incredibly proud of this girl and her compassion and thoughtfulness. I told her what an amazing girl she is and that I was so proud of her for being concerned about Sienna and reaching out to comfort her.
The whole way home she remained quiet and thoughtful -- I could tell she was thinking about the other girl. We talked through the details of the day, the other presentations, and the election process. I think the whole thing took her back because she knew that she would have felt the exact same way had she lost the election.
Oh it's so hard!
But I'm so proud of her for being thoughtful, kind, and compassionate.
One of the slides in her presentation read:
I would be a good class representative because:
I am very responsible
I would attend all meetings on time
I have creative ideas and
I always like to smile at people and comfort them when they are sad.
That is exactly right.