May 19, 2011

The talent show that keeps on giving

If I had looked into my crystal ball last week to prepare for the week after the talent show and Alex’s disappointment at not winning the I-pod touch, this is what I would have seen:

Saturday – get up early to drive to Grand Junction for a Regional Track Meet. Win first place on the shot put out of 1 (no other girls competed), and have the best throw ever. Win second out of three in the 100M dash with one of the best times ever. Hang out with friends, laugh, joke and no complaints at all, except for the relay being rained out. Eat healthy and be a joy to be around all day.

Sunday – watch some T.V., play some music and bug Mom to go to the grocery store. Eat healthy and be a joy to be around all day.

Monday – wake up in a good mood, make healthy lunch, and get dropped off at school as a happy 17 year old. Have teacher call Mom at 10:00 because Alex has spent all morning crying in the corner complaining of a shoulder injury from the track meet (impossible). Arrive at school by 11:00 to find Alex still crying, her teacher and aide trying to work with her. Alex rude and non complaint all morning. Tell Alex I will take her to the chiropractor after she apologizes for her behavior, by explaining why she is sorry. Take Alex to chiropractor; discover she has very tight shoulder, most likely from stress. Take Alex home, watch TV, play music and relax. Should injury not mentioned.

Tuesday – too chicken to take Alex to school because there is no one to pick her up if she needs to leave early. Take Alex on the three hour drive to Denver to pick Courtney, the college girl, up at the airport. Alex delighted to see her sister and play “hooky”. Stop at the outlet mall and buy Alex two pairs of shoes, a sports bra and a sports cap. Come home, go out to dinner with some friends, and have a great time. Shoulder injury not mentioned. Eat healthy and be a joy to be around all day.

Wednesday – School is good, shoulder injury not mentioned. Eat healthy and be a joy to be around all day.

To be honest I did not have to look into my crystal ball, as I knew this is what would happen. Almost a week later, Alex is still trying to process her disappointment about not winning the I-pod touch at the Talent Show.

It is very interesting to me how our society is so focused on the prize and not the journey. This goal oriented culture has infected all of my children, as well as me. The only difference between Alex and her siblings is the filter Courtney and Tom use to mask their disappointments. Although they have been disappointed many times, they have recognized that the journey defines the event and is just part of a much larger picture. They can filter this disappointment and appreciate the experience, Alex cannot yet.

Tom was not disappointed he did not win at the Nationals for snowboard, he did not even place in the top 30. He was proud he was invited, and got to compete in the Nationals. In my book Courtney did very well her first year of college, she did not get the 4.0 GPA she wanted, but she too was proud of her accomplishments at one of the top colleges in the US.

To stand up in front of tons of people, sit on a stool and sing a song is a huge success for anyone. It was not about the I-pod touch, it was about being part of the community and participating as best you can. Alex still has a lot of growing up to do; a feigned shoulder injury may deflect Alex’s disappointment and get extra attention from the teacher, but it will not help Alex grow. We all need to learn to enjoy and find pride in our journeys. The goal is becoming the best we can possibly be, whether or not we win the prize. We still have lots of work to do.

1 comment:

  1. I couldn't even sing in a talent show...I was too chicken...I am so impressed with her confidence!! And you can tell her I said so!!


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