Friday, September 21, 2012

Ganging up

Election season is here!! I'm not talking about National elections but elections at my kids school. Due to watching Obama and Clinton speeches, my son decided to run for Student school secretary as that's what they are allowed if they are 4th graders, either treasurer or secretary or class representative. My daughter chose to be a class representative as 3rd graders are only allowed to represent their individual class.

First, they need to write an essay of why they want to run and briefly describe what leadership means to them. I was skeptic about my daughter running as she is still immature and kinda irresponsible. Someone always have to be there to push her to get things done. And if she wins by chance, will I get piled up by additional tension?? So I clearly told her, don't run just because brother is running. Do you really want to take responsibility of the class? Will you sincerely, like a responsible leader represent your class based on their needs and requirements? Do you really know what you're getting into?

Well, she got mad at me. And yelled at me saying that she knows what she is doing. Nowadays, she has started screaming, and she thinks that's the best way to cope up with people and their relented questions and biased judgments. Is not a parent duty to tell kids, when they are really not capable? Tensions are so high for everybody including her in the mornings due to her being lethargic and no time-sense attitude. All she had to do is get ready and drink milk before catching up bus. Whatever I pack for breakfast, they usually eat in the school cafeteria. Every other minute thing, I'll take care. Even for 8 oz of milk, she takes easily 20 minutes, without worrying about time. In the evenings, she won't plan out her day. If she starts reading a FICTIONAL book, she won't leave until the book gets over, in the pretext of need-to-read-everyday-for-25-min, delaying her homework or piano practice. Everything gets piled up and time is running out, when everybody starts pressurizing her about her things done, she yells and screams. With this kind of mood, how she can sincerely practice piano. So even that gets effected.

Based on my son's character, I gave him few tips for essay writing. By seeing that, my daughter asked me to give her also few tips, I didn't know what to say. Yes, she is an exceptional student, even though dis-respective at home, at school she is totally disciplined and follows the rules. My problem with her is IRRESPONSIBLE. Maybe she will be okay in future but now, I know she is immature. When I told my mom over the phone, she said to me, "Don't stop her from what she wants to achieve. Many imitators become successful in real life by imitating others. Let her imitate her brother, there is nothing wrong. She will learn by observing others.

Anyhow, My son totally got involved, took time, thought through it while writing his essay. So next thing to do is planning out the process of campaigning, I may say a successful campaign not a mediocre one. If me or my kids get involved in something, I really put 100% effort. First the school said that they need to deliver the message through morning announcements. So I suggested him to do something musical, something catchy. The whole weekend, I thought about what rhymes with 'Secretary' and how to write a catchy jingle. Somehow I came up with something and my son was ready with a tune. My daughter got involved and offered herself to sing. I was surprised by her move and felt good about her getting involved. Great! She couldn't understand my scribbles, so without being lazy, she wrote neatly on a piece of paper to sing. We made a 30s catchy song. But later we came to know that school wants school council candidates to deliver message during school assembly.


All through out when we were collectively working, my husband kept himself at bay in the pretext of being tired with his own work tensions. I helped my son with 30s speech, accurate and to the point and easy to deliver. My son's speech was more about him and about his unique character. But when I daughter asked me to help, I flinched as a mother I knew all about her flaws, so I did not want to write something which is not, rather than about her character, I stressed more on what she will do. I got this brilliant idea by mentioning her work in words which start with 'R'. In that way, all she has to do is remember the words, not sentences. The problem with my daughter is she is not scared or thrives for perfectionism. So won't work hard to be her best. But lucky for her, her speech is going to take place in her class, addressing her classmates.

Once my husband came from work, we showed our work. He nodded with agreement, but later after few hours at about 7:30 P.M. sowed doubts in my son saying that your speech is more towards you than about what you do for others. Time is precious during school days, how will his remark help him out at end of the day. At 9:00 P.M., my son makes a remark by saying I'm not happy with my speech. I need to alter. So he added a line by saying "Let me be your voice at Student Council." but kept the remaining part of speech exactly the way it was written.

Time has come!! His first speech!! Will he flinch or come out successful?

Even on that day too, as usual my daughter delayed, my husband, the great woke up late as he did not get enough sleep, I did everything from ironing to packing lunch, snack boxes, preparing omelettes, making sure with their speeches, posters but what is the use - instead of providing a cool atmosphere to our son, we were  rushing and driving fast so that they won't be tardy on their important day. God's grace and my husband's impeccable driving skills, we reached the school with few seconds left to ring the bell.

I did a great job with my son's 11*14 poster using photoshop.  Believe it or not, for my daughter, I did not use photoshop or struck her photo as I thought it will be too much for class representative post, so made her do the decoration, on that morning as we did not go shopping for posters in the weekend as we did not get fliers from school about what and when, to do certain things for campaign.

So when me and my husband entered the school to watch campaign speeches and support our son, I was surprised and embarrassed to see myself and my husband all alone as there was no other parent to witness. The cafeteria was totally occupied by students and faculty, no outsiders. If you've read my previous posts, you'll know how one particular incident tainted my relationships with faculty. After that one incident, I never felt comfortable around them and always gives me goosebumps as I feel like they are judging me, cursing me...disliking me...all kinds of negative thoughts swirl around me. I kind of walk behind my husband's shadow, imaging that they can't see me now. I hate my attitude, even though I did not do anything wrong, even though they misunderstood me, but they hurt my innocent soul and now I don't feel comfortable.

Unbelievable, yes, that's the word came to my mind, when my son delivered the speech. Even though, he slightly altered the speech, but the way he delivered was crystal clear, directly looking into the crowd, totally poised.

Some fumbled, some looked at their notes, some dressed up pretty well, some had lofty goals on their list, some gave casual but still were able to connect... on the whole, awesome to see kids growing up, not just growing up but growing up in a right path. I wondered about how kids were able deliver speeches so confidently - is it due to familiar atmosphere or "ignorance is a bless" kind of attitude where you don't worry about mistakes or fear or how the voice comes out or what if I forget - basically it looked more like kids delivering speeches in front of a family member - no strangeness or strange feeling. When my husband heard about other kids laying out future promises, he remarked by saying, I was right, Pranay will be saying more about himself than what's his plans. I said, "well, it is too late to remark." But all our disappointments laid to rest, when my son started delivering the speech. In that 30s, he introduced himself and mentioned his character traits as a reason for why he is standing in front of them and declaring his candidacy for Secretary. He usually is very reserved, doesn't show any kind of emotions, and for him to come across in that way, in front of 300+ people was just awesome! Truth to be told, I did not like the way other kids speeches about what they will do, where they can take the school...when they don't even know the limitations they face. I go by what I wrote for my son in his speech, that 30s is the ideal time to introduce and talk about your character to make judgement of who is the right candidate for the post. Turbulence occurred when other kids who are close to my son started picking on him. They said other character traits about you on the poster are true other than being "humble" and "honest". By bragging about his character traits, he is not humble and thereby he is not honest. He came home with gloomy face, I said tell them that you bragged about your character at right time and right place and that's what you've to do when you're campaigning. There is nothing wrong. Yesterday, when he wore a homemade T-shirt made my himself, they picked on him, by saying the quality of the t-shirt is not good, hey, your head might fall off, you're crazy to wear and you proved it by wearing that t-shirt, are you really that desperate to become secretary...so on. I'm totally speechless, the worst thing is whoever picking on him are his so-called friends and who are all Indian descendants. They may lack ambitions or lack of support from parents or have no creative minds of their own, to pick on their own classmate is just a shameless act. Well, I had explain my son of not worry about those comments. All you had to do was get your name out, let them call crazy or whatever, you accomplished your goal by being creative, courageous and maintaining higher standards from rest of the candidates. By daughter's speech got postponed by two days, so she had ample time to practice, which she did and with new inspiration from her bro, delivered pretty well and according to her - got a long applause. Last night, I made 20+ sentences using popular songs to deliver a message to vote for my son for secretary. So in a fun filled way, playing what's-that-song game and still able to do pass on the campaigning message. Waiting anxiously for the outcome - don't know a dreadful/mean comments from kids or a supportive one. I'm even scared of school - will they encourage or label me as a pushy parent? To be honest, as I told you, I want to be perfect in what I do. As a parent, if I have some brilliant ideas, I would like to pass it on, show them the way to be done. My son is doing because he wants to do something good for the school before he leaves. As a parent, is it not my responsibility to help? And that too when I've time and sources. In last incident with the school, they accused me that I'm giving undue advantage to my son over others. It is not my fault, if working parents don't have time to help their kids with speeches or slogans or campaign posters. I have time and occasionally brilliant ideas, so why I'm wrong? Rice people send their kids to private school because they can afford, so will that be undue advantage over other kids? That's how the world world. Beating the odds and coming out successful is what makes life worth while to live, appreciate and inspire. Well, no one said or accused of me anything, but the voices in my head due to past experiences, giving me a guilty feeling, when I heard some kids speeches which were awful and when I saw some kids how they forgot the lines or how some did not even put effort or when I noticed how my son's poster was eye catching...made me realize the advantage my son has over others. Is that my fault? I say, that's how the world is.

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