Friday, January 25, 2013

What Do I Believe?

When you are a parent, you tell your children all kinds of things that you believe, in principle.

"You don't have to win every time--you need to do some things just because you enjoy doing them."

"It's good to challenge yourself!"

"It's better to have tried and failed than not to have tried at all."

Oh, yes, I believe those things. In principle.

Last week a notice appeared in our institutional e-mail announcing a spelling bee at the local coffee shop. As I've mentioned here before, I LOVE spelling bees. I can tell you exactly which word I went out on every year of grade school, and one of my favorite community involvements is pronouncing words for the Small Town bee every spring.

Before I could think twice, I signed up. Almost immediately I regretted that decision.

What if I completely embarrass myself? I have trustee meetings all day today and even when I don't have that added stress my end-of-day brain is not as dynamic as my beginning-of-the-day brain. I often find myself fumbling for words--what if I get so nervous that I completely go blank on a word that is humiliatingly easy?

What if I am the first one to hear the pronouncer say "I'm sorry, that is incorrect."

Will I be gracious in defeat? Will I pout? Will I cry?

Do I really believe those things I told my kids about challenging themselves and doing things even though I'm not the best at them and trying? Or do I only believe them in principle?

Tonight I'll find out. 

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