Today my daughter turns 18. Cue the balloons and the flashing lights. What I am most happy about today is that I no longer have to fill our any permission forms for my daughter to literally do anything at college (just ask me how I feel about school cut off dates) But along with that, I am also happy about certain parenting decisions that I made along the way.
So guess what? You’re getting a parenting post today- where I pat myself on the back and extol the virtues of my
parenting skills daughter.
When my daughter entered middle school, she was not thrilled. In Manhattan, you apply to go to public middle and high schools, and unfortunately, my daughter did not get her first choice. I told her she had two options: make the best of the situation- (join things, study and make friends), or make the worst of it (rush home every day and watch TV).
She heard about debate team from her social studies teacher, and decided to give it a go. She tends towards the introverted, but I figured if she liked it, I would support her. And she realized right away that she loved research and she loved arguing (well, to be fair, I knew that she loved arguing). A debater was born. She worked tirelessly at becoming better, and by 8th grade her and her partner were good enough to so to the State Championships.
Her plan was to debate in High School, but the year before, a scandal rocked the NYC high school debate world. Her HS had a team in 9th grade, but it the league was in iffy shape, so my daughter joined the Law Team. Fast forward to great success with the law team, due to hard work and dedication.
In college, her school has two law teams, one for mock trial and one for moot court. She applied for the more prestigious mock trial team, but did not get a position. She did get a spot on the moot court team.
The moot court team is fairly new at her college. In fact, last weekend, her college, and my daughter competed for the first time in a collegiate competition. My daughter has spent the past six weeks prepping for this competition, on top of all the course work. While she was happy with performance of herself and her teammates, no one made it to the final round. Yet, they stayed to watch the final round (instead of driving back to watch the basketball game) so that they could learn for the next time.
So what was the point of all this?
More often then not, things will not go your way. That’s just life. Sometimes things are external, like a scandal that destroys things. Sometimes someone is just better than you- remember- for every winner there are a whole lot more losers… But in the end, you need to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get on with it. If you love something. you just have to keep pushing along, working towards your goal.
A goal and a dream are two different things. My daughter could dream of being a law team champion. But in order for dream to become reality, you need to work at it. Research, study, watch how the better teams work. Put in the hours…..
Yet there is no guarantee.
You may do everything that you are supposed to, and you still don’t get the outcome you desire. Does that mean it was all for nothing?
My daughter was disappointed, but she doesn’t regret the time and the energy she put into it. She learned the finer points of how the competition works, and is better prepared for the next one. She knows what she can do better in the future. Of course she wants to win, she is competetive. Yet she knows that hardware isn’t the only thing that you get from a tournement. She knows she tried her all and competed- she was in the game. And you can’t win a game that you don’t participate in.