This past week my boys have been all aflutter about trying to get onto the student counsel at their school. Joey (8th grade) is running for vice president of the school and Tommy and Ben are both running for their class's representative (6th grade and 4th grade, respectively). All three boys needed to write speeches. The candidates for representatives would give their speeches to their respective class and the president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer candidates would give their speeches in front of the whole school.
For days the boys worked on their speeches. I stayed out of it only stepping in to correct Ben's grammar in a few spots after he asked me to look it over. Other than that I felt it was the boys' responsibility to write their own speeches. I hadn't even read Tommy or Joe's speeches.
Yesterday, the morning of the speeches, Tommy came up to me and asked me if we could bring cupcakes into his class. I asked him why he wanted to bring in cupcakes. He said, "I want to tell my class that if they vote for me I will bring in cupcakes." Oh boy. Bribery at its finest. I asked Tommy if he was buying the cupcakes with his money and he assured me that he would. I shrugged my shoulders and told him to do what he wants.
I thought of the boys often throughout the day knowing how nervous they had been to give their speeches. Towards the end of the day the school posted the speeches (for Pres, VP, Treasurer, and Secretary) on Facebook. I watched and listened to the young candidates make their cases and then it was Joey's turn. Joey got up in front of his school and gave his speech and it brought me to tears. He began his speech saying how he wanted to make this year a great one for everyone. He gave his ideas for fun events and field trips. He spoke about working hard for his fellow school mates and being a friend to all. And then towards the end of his speech he praised the other candidates running for vice president. He told all the students that the other candidates were smart and had great ideas too. In fact, he said, they may be better than him but he would work very hard to make his school proud. He went on to say that in the 10 years he has been at that school (since 4K) he has been given so much that he wanted to give back to the school. He ended with thanking everyone and saying, "God bless everyone!"
I am not lying when I say I was not the only one in tears. I am told that the principal was welling up along with a few teachers and parents. To say I am proud would be a severe understatement. If only our current candidates for president could carry themselves with such grace and humility.
I couldn't wait until Joey got home so that I could tell him how much his speech meant to me. I walked down to the bus stop to meet the kids as they were walking down the street. Tommy excitedly ran up to me and announced that he was chosen to be his class's representative by a landslide. I congratulated him and chuckled to myself thinking that the cupcakes probably had a little bit to do with that.
Joey and Ben still weren't sure of their fates, as the votes hadn't been tallied for them yet, but I let them know how proud I was regardless of the outcome.
That evening, our one free evening without football practice, was spent stacking wood and playing basketball. I'd made a fire in our fireplace and we had the kids' favorite taco dinner. I made them a special strawberry shortcake dessert too. It was a special night.
As Tommy and I sat by the fire I asked him when he needed to bring the cupcakes in to his class.
He said, "Oh, I didn't put that part in my speech."
Surprised, I asked, "You didn't? Why not?"
Tommy replied, "Well, there were a couple of kids running for representative who don't have a lot of money so they wouldn't be able to offer something like that. I didn't think it would be fair if I said that."
And with that my heart melted. How on earth had I gotten such amazingly kind and compassionate children?
I gave Tommy a big hug, thanked him, and told him that that was a very loving and wise decision.
This year's political mess has really gotten to me. It is just so sickening. But listening to my kids I know there is hope for this world yet.