LittleBrother decided to run for Student Council.
I only ran once. I think fifth grade marked the year I decided to go for it. I made posters on construction paper. I wrote a speech that in no way promised giving away candy or changing the lunch menu as I knew I couldn’t do those things. I stood up in front of the class with glasses, crooked teeth, and a shoulder length perm that I brushed—no, reallyand gave my speech.
I don’t remember who won, but they opted for the “promises we can’t keep” route of candy and longer recess and all that jazz. I’m not even sure I told my parents I lost. I felt kind of stupid for not doing what the other kids did, for not passing out candy or making empty promises. I’d chosen the honest route, followed my moral compass.
And it got me nothing.
To this day, I still choose that path. I follow the rules. I don’t promise what I can’t deliver. I don’t even like when my current bout of insomnia makes me flake on my friends because I simply cannot will my body to move after a night of 45 minutes of broken, interrupted sleep. I kick it old school, I suppose, and I feel like my word, how I conduct myself in business, and how I treat others are all part of my honor. Sometimes I screw up, because we all screw up. But I try my hardest to live a life I’m proud of, one without much doubt that I chose the right path.
My husband took Booey shopping last night for brightly colored small poster board. LittleBrother designed his own poster on a piece of paper first and then transferred it to his poster. This morning, after both boys ate breakfast and got ready for school, LittleBrother asked if he could make another poster. He added a big-smiling emoji face to that one. I told him they looked great.
After school today, he asked if I would help him write his speech. So he sat with my iPad while I finished up some work for the day, and he wrote that speech. My input remained minimal. I told him the basics of speech writing, instructed him on how to introduce himself and give a statement of purpose.
I then asked him, “Why do you want to run for student council?”
“I like helping people,” he replied.
This is why we parent the way we parent. This is why we live our lives the way we live our lives. We want to model kindness, empathy, compassion, dedication, service, determination, loyalty, honesty, and other important characteristics. We want our sons to know that how they treat others matter, that their word matters.
That they matter.
I don’t know if he’ll win or if he’ll lose. We’ll support him either way. He decided to stick himself out there and do something laced with a little bit of risk. I hope he comes away from the experience feeling as though he’s worth that kind of risk—worth so much more than that kind of risk.