Take it away, Jen!
The Campaign Trail
“I’m going to run for Student Advisory Council,” my daughter, Gracie, announced while haphazardly rifling through her purple Trapper Keeper. I wasn’t quite sure I heard her correctly. This is my child who loves the path of least resistance; loves a sure thing. Her safety net usually consists of steering clear of anything that might involve rejection, conflict, or opening up to others. I know this well because she is the younger version of me. I’m not certain what the catalyst was that changed my inhibitions years ago. Perhaps series of small steps of confidence, a giant leap—who knows? If only we had Marty McFly’s Back to The Future DeLorean, we could check it out together. Somewhere along my journey through life I made the choice to not let fear of anyone, or anything, hold me back and that’s something I want not only for my children, but for others as well. Fear can be gripping; paralyzing, and keep you from what your heart desires.
Gracie handed me the paper to sign. The one that sealed her fate as a nominee once I gave my permission for her to run. How interesting in this 2016 election season, right?
The time had come to get down to brass-tacks. “So we’re going to need to talk about your platform,” I advised. She stared at me with the face of a lost soul, to which I quickly countered, “What matters to you? What do you want to see changed at school? What would you like to see happen to make your fellow students and community happy?”
The lightbulb moment.
“I want to make sure we have more playground equipment because not all kids get to play at recess. I want my school to work with others in the community to help raise money for causes; veterans, animals, and kids who are sick.”
And away she went filled with ideas, dreams, and plans.
Over the next few days, her campaign team (read: me) went to work helping design posters, prepping her speech, and keeping morale up. It also led to discussions about the season our nation is in. One where we as a nation are on the precipice of electing new officials into office. The revelation to my daughter that once upon a time, women and minorities couldn’t cast a ballot. I hope I impressed upon her the clear truth that every voice, and every vote matters.
|I'd like to thank Pinterest for helping me |
NOT reinvent the campaign poster!
So she campaigned. She made crazy cool posters. She delivered a speech filled with her hopes and wishes for her classmates. Then the scariest thing of all happened—she left her fate in the hands of the voters.
I picked her up after school on election day. Gracie’s head hung as she walked to the car. Her lip quivering as she closed the car door. “I didn’t win.”
My heart sank. “Baby, I’m so proud of you for running…”
Before I could go on with the “atta girl” pep talk, she interrupted. “Just kidding! I won!”
“You booger!” I laughed. I threw my arms around her. “Way to go!”
“Mom, I just hope I can do the best job possible to make my fifth grade class proud,” she remarked on the quick trip home.
I paused and thought about my words before offering advice. I mean, I was now Chief of Staff for Gracie Tucker. Kind of a big deal. “Gracie, as long as you follow your heart, do the right thing, listen to others and work with your peers to make positive decisions for others, it’ll be a great year.”
“Mom, I think you should tell the same thing to the two running for president because I hope they think about those things.”
And this is why I’m thankful to be Senior Advisor for my daughter and not for anyone on a larger scale. This little corner of the world, this young student council member whom I’ve been given the charge to raise, is all the political pull on a member of office I desire.
|When she came home and celebrated her win|
with her best four-legged friends.