I watched a speech competition the other night with gr. 7 and 8 students from all over Ontario.
I was the proud Mom sitting in the second row, feeling ill for my daughter. I'm quite sure although she did not take notice, that many other Moms would sympathize with my stomach being in knots, and my throat being dry, while my palms were sweaty.
In a perfect story for the movies, my daughter would have placed 1st or 2nd and received a trophy, but this isn't the movies...this is life.
I'm not actually sure where she placed, as they only give the top two awards, but her and I know that the nerves got to her. Did I feel bad for her, yes, but more than that...I was so proud.
I wasn't impressed because she made it that far, I wasn't happy that she rose to deliver even though her nerves were getting the better of her, and I wasn't proud of her smile of grace even when she knew after her speech that it wasn't going to be her standing in the end.
The love came at the end of it all, as I watched her interact with her friends. It was in the tears she shed for pure happiness that a good friend who stood beside her,had placed second in the poetry group.
It was in the congratulations she offered to the others who had placed. It was in the hugs she gave to her friends who had come to support her; saying, "it's ok I didn't win".
And on the way home; as I sat quietly in the drivers seat with my sister in law beside me;
and 6 friends/cousins in the back, I had to smile, as they talked about the cool other speeches, the interesting facts they learned, the amazement over the boy who presented the first place speech. They laughed about the choir that was making distracting noises in the next room, they roused each other about their own speeches, and experiences at the school level.
But the most amazement sound to me was the near tear squeals about how happy they were for their friend and class mate who had placed.
And at the end of the night, as I crawled into bed, I smiled.
We raise our children to think of others, do unto others as you would have them do to you, ...Jesus, Others, Yourself...so to share in others happiness even when it is at the sacrifice of your own.
You teach them to be bigger than disappointment, and to keep their chin up...but you never really know if they hear it, or if they practice it unless you are fortunate enough to see them go through it.
And so I am thankful I was able to witness a "failure", and able to see how she dealt with it.
At the end of the day; it is hard to fail, but it is worse to never had tried to succeed. (Theodore Roosevelt)
So although others may not remember her as a winner of a provincial speech competition; in my eyes, she did win.