You know you've stopped growing when you've stopped learning and the key to that is recognizing the fact that you can learn from just about anyone - young, old, male, female,etc. I can say that, recently, I learned something very profound, yet simple, from a 13-year-old.....my 13-year-old daughter, to be exact.
For the past two weeks, my, now, not-so-little one was preparing for her school's spelling bee. She qualified by finishing second in her homeroom class so she was one of about 25 students participating in this middle school spelling bee. I watched as she studied those words. Her mom and I helped her but she had some trouble with a few of the words but she stayed the course and kept working. Last year, she made it to the second round but was eliminated rather unceremoniously. The eventual champion wound up good enough to win the regionals and make it to the National Spelling Bee in D.C. He was, once again, in this tournament so, from her parents' standpoint, we knew it would be a tough haul for her.
As the spelling bee got closer, she continued to study but also pronounced to us that she was going to win this spelling bee. Why? Her reasoning was that she really wanted a medal (Side note - she has always been impressed by the medal I received for running a half-marathon a few years ago so that has been on her radar since then.). She was determined to win. As far as her mom and I were concerned, we were proud of all of the preparation she was doing but we knew that she was up against some tough competition. We would be happy just for her particpation.
Unfortunately,for me, this spelling bee was scheduled the same time as my annual trip to St. Jude's Children's Research Center so I was going to miss being there in person. The day of the spelling bee I, honestly, expected to get a text from her mom, at some point, saying she was eliminated but gave a great effort. I was prepared for that. What I wasn't prepared for was the ecstatic phone call I received from my daughter telling me she had WON that spelling bee. She beat the most intelligent child in the class AND the defending champion. She was going to represent her school in the regional spelling bee which is one step away from the big one!!!! She put in the necessary preparation and she said she would win and she did.
On my way home from my trip, I thought about how determined she was to win this spelling bee. She believed in herself so much that she carried that confidence, and her hard work, to the top spot.
This has nothing to do with competition. As I thought long and hard about it, this had EVERYTHING to do with believing in yourself and your abilities. Follow that plan and you can accomplish just about anything. I learned that, again,.....this time from a very excited, proud 13-year old. BELIEVE!!!