Monday, July 23, 2012

Hail to the Chief?

When my little trio were in first grade, we hit a roadblock with their teacher. My Benjamin needed to leave the class at a certain time of day and upon returning he was usually alone because in his eagerness to return to the classroom he did not wait for his aide to accompany him, rather just independently drove back. However, the door would be closed and my boy could not knock. So he used his six-year-old problem-solving skills and determined to ram his chair into the door so that the tray would effectively alert the class he needed someone to open the door.

I frankly thought he was a genius. The teacher, not so much.

She found his solution disruptive and as we discussed options -- she flat out refused to just leave the door open for this small bit of time -- I sensed frustration in my dear boy. (Ok, and perhaps some anger in me.)

My trio circa 2004 -- they were actually just finishing 2nd grade here...but you can see the tray!

So, when during this season, Benjamin woke crying, Mama Bear came running with claws bared. Certain. Certain. Absolutely certain that he was fretting over how to get into the classroom when the door was closed. And more importantly, I was absolutely certain that his self-esteem was suffering. Oh, I was certain.

When I reached his bedside, and knelt down to talk to him, my little sobbing boy looked up at me with big worried eyes. Here we go, I thought, as he said, "Mommy.?"

"Yes, my darling boy," I said, ready to assure him of my dragon-slaying ability. I was ready to solve this problem even if it meant Mama Bear removing the door to his classroom from the hinges. "Yes, dear?"

"Mommy, I am worried."

"I know, son, how can I help?"

"Mommy, I am worried that when I get elected president of the United States, they won't let you live in the White House with me."

Oh. Is that all? Hmm. Seems his self-esteem wasn't suffering!

Alas, we have entered the teenage years. The years when dreams change, self-esteem wanes and Mama Bear isn't allowed to swoop in and try to save the day.

Deep sigh.

However, this weekend, I received a glimpse of that big-dreamer of the pre-teenage years. Our annual Homeschool Convention had a teen tract through Generation Joshua to teach the kids about citizenship, democracy and elections. The first day of the convention was filled with learning how a caucus is run, dividing the teens into two parties and holding a primary. At the end of the day, I walked up to the classroom doors to hear an enormous cheer erupt. Enormous. I stood quietly smiling to myself, eager to hear if my three had enjoyed their day and to ask what the cheer was.

I didn't have to wait. A friend came out ahead of the mass -- she had gone inside to find her son. With tears streaming down her cheeks, she told me that cheer had been for my son. For my Benjamin. He had just won his party's primary and the crowd had gone crazy.

Oh goodness.

Ready to campaign.

The second day was filled with campaigning, debates, speeches and the all-important, voting.

Benjamin and his awesome team!

I have to confess that I snuck into the debate. My boy -- who just finished 9th grade -- was up against a high school graduate who had obviously been preparing for this opportunity. Benjamin was just rolling with it. This kid had more charisma in his little finger than his opponent could muster in his whole body. I was so tickled as I watched him answer debate questions on topics that I knew he had little prior knowledge of with complete confidence and frankly, good politics.

My trio with Generation Joshua speaker, Jeremiah.

In the end, my dear boy did not get elected president. He lost by 24 votes. Out of thousands. 24. Not bad for his first political run, I'd say.

But you know what he did win? The memory of a dream; the assurance of his serious skills and an eagerness to explore how his God-given abilities could be used in his future.

And watching his face light up as his peers cheered for him -- well, that is a blessing I will not soon forget.


charla said...

Love it, love it, love it!

Breana Marie said...

When Benjamin runs for US president someday, I will vote for him! :)

Breana Marie said...

When Benjamin runs for president of the US someday, I will vote for him! He did an incredibly excellent job this weekend.

Roger Smith said...

Awesome. Keep sharing your blessings with us. I truly love and enjoy keeping up with the Shrader clan.

AZJrzyGrl said...

What a beautiful, touching story. I have goosebumps. I can't even begin to imagine how proud you must be.