Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Recovering from an embarrassing moment

In the past couple of years, T. has become very sensitive to what people around him think of him. He won’t do certain things because he’s worried people will laugh, but he’ll do other things because he gets good feedback from the crowd. But when he’s been embarrassed, it sometimes takes a while to try something again.

His class recently had a recital along with two other grades. It was a loud, busy crowd when the second grade class finally came on to do their show. T. had a role where he was lifting a poster board with a word on it. His job was to hold up the board when the word was sung.

He did.

It was upside down.

I could see the dawning on his face as he realized the crowd was laughing and that somehow he was the cause of it. But I was so proud of how he reacted.

He looked at the sign, had a stricken look on his face, then looked at the crowd, smirked, shrugged and kept on going.

I think a year ago, T. would have stopped singing and participating altogether. He might have even started crying. But I was proud of his perseverance.

Perseverance is a trait that has to be practiced. It comes from knowing that “this too will pass.” He could have given up and then lamented for days about the mistake. When I spoke to him later that night, I told him how proud I was of him because he kept on going. He admitted that he was embarrassed and that he didn’t like the crowd laughing at him. I told him that the crowd needed a good laugh and look at how well he managed to turn that little mistake into something everyone enjoyed. But most importantly, that he continued his task.

The reality is, most people don’t know it wasn’t planned. Some might have thought it was part of the act. Those who didn’t probably won’t remember. But those who do remember will do so with a smile.

I hope this lesson of perseverance is one he takes with him as he grows up and faces more and more challenges. Yes, there are times where we have to go a different direction, but we have to keep going. Keep going, T! I am proud of you!

Reace Alvarenga-Smith is a Public Relations Manager for Texas Health Resources and mother of two.

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