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What to say to kid who lost election

rt needs help!rt needs help! Posts: 63Registered User New Member
edited August 2009 in Parent Cafe
My kid lost an election that he really hoped to win. He is putting on a brave face, but I can tell he is very sad. CC parents -- any words of wisdom? Anything I say sounds cliche and he rejects -- Anyone have any good pep talk ideas?
Post edited by rt needs help! on
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Replies to: What to say to kid who lost election

  • dinoiandinoian Posts: 546Registered User Member
    Just tell him that somebody had to lose, and that he should just keep trying. This is coming from somebody that ran for a total of around 15 positions all the way from 4th grade class senator to President of Quizbowl club in senior year. I never won any of the elections, even when running unopposed, but I kept trying and took leadership roles as opposed to titles.

    That is pretty key, that he should get involved in leadership activities, like organizing a soup drive or similar even though he doesn't have a title.
  • HImomHImom Posts: 19,212Registered User Senior Member
    I'd just told my kids (who both lost elections) that I am/was there for them. When they were ready, I also reminisced about the one election where I ran for secretary -- and lost. I also encouraged them in other leadership positions that they had and continue to hold. Sometimes, they really don't want a "pep talk," but just need to feel sad and move on.

    By the way, I know it sounds trite, but I firmly believe it DOES help our kids if they overcome adversity. I know it has made my kids much stronger than their peers who always got whatever they wanted and never had major disappointments.

    Part of growth is letting our kids come to US when they want us and LISTENING. That can be more important than anything we can say--listen and take your cue from your child. Our kids have great insights and are stronger than we sometimes give them credit for. In some ways, it is comforting for them to have some initial big disappointments where we can physically be there for them rather than when they are thousands of miles away.
  • bagelsbagelsbagelsbagels Posts: 764Registered User Member
    Tell him that everything will be ok
  • soozievtsoozievt Posts: 29,299Registered User, ! Senior Member
    You already got good advice. I don't know the age of your child or what position he was running for.

    Often, some of these positions in student government are popularity contests and the officers do very little. Is your son truly very interested in the activity he was trying to do? One need not be elected to participate and make a difference. It is more about what you do than the title of the position.

    One year in HS, my daughter was not elected as a Senator to the Student Senate. That year, she chose to attend every meeting anyway and in fact, she started a committee on an important issue she cared about and was trying to change a policy at her high school. She worked with one or two kids (though truly led this almost singlehandedly) to write a new policy for the school that eventually went before the faculty and she took it to the school board who finally approved the new policy for the school. It took two years from start to finish. During this time, a Senator in the Senate quit and the President appointed my D as a replacement because she was always at the meetings and she was someone who was actually initiating and accomplishing something. In fact, every teacher rec and GC rec my D got for college mentions what my D accomplished in making a change at her school on this policy and how it was very rare for students in the Senate to ever truly do something of significance that effected change in the school and she did and she wasn't even elected! I think what she managed to initiate and getting new policy passed at her school (she started a second policy initiative after the first one was done) was more important than any elected title.

    Does your child want the title or does your child want to be actively involved and make a difference? The latter is possible without the title.
  • NJresNJres Posts: 5,284Registered User Senior Member
    From Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem In Memoriam:27, 1850:

    I hold it true, whate'er befall;
    I feel it, when I sorrow most;
    'Tis better to have run and lost
    Than never to have run at all.
  • swimcatsmomswimcatsmom Posts: 15,071Registered User Senior Member
    Often, some of these positions in student government are popularity contests and the officers do very little.
    So true. My daughter was running for office in an organization in HS and at first thought she had a pretty good shot. Then a very popular girl joined the organization and decided to run and my daughter knew she had no chance. She ran for student govt in middle school and the guy who won had all sorts of disciplinary problems - but was popular. I think he dropped out before high school.

    But tell him not to despair - she is president this year of an organization in her college and it is something she is very interested in. soozievt makes some excellent points.
  • silvervestersmomsilvervestersmom Posts: 710Registered User Junior Member
    Almost every election has a loser. (Not getting into Bush v. Gore) One of my Ss ran for student body president of his LAC and lost by one vote. I was surprised it was that close because IMO I thought his platform was a mistake.

    It's sad to lose but your S's loss was not a referendum on his worth as a person. He can campaign for another office at another time and in the meantime he can think of strategies and platforms to use when the time comes. (Clever posters and/or clever phrases to use in the future, identifying other students who might be helpful in another race--there are lessons he can learn from this.)
  • silvervestersmomsilvervestersmom Posts: 710Registered User Junior Member
    I just remembered when I was in high school and was nominated for every position in one club from president on down, losing every one until the last and "lowest" when I guess I got the sympathy vote. That turned out to be THE best position because it was as delegate to the county wide organization. I had a great time there and made many friends outside my own school.
  • pugmadkatepugmadkate Posts: 5,807Registered User Senior Member
    We have taught our son that there is something things far, far worse than defeat and that is in the never taking the risk. We view defeat as proof that you were in the fight. The hurt is temporary, and if he chooses to view it this way, then the pride at having tried never goes away.

    From Theodore Roosevelt's speech "Citizenship in a Republic," at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910.

    "It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."
  • archiemomarchiemom Posts: 1,612Registered User Senior Member
    The best advice is to keep keep trying!

    S1 lost student body (can't remember now what exactly it was called) VP in middle school, and also P the following year; and then lost Student Council President in high school to his girl friend!

    But at his college last spring, as a sophomore, won an election to one of six positions in the Student Government Association (after having run as a freshman and lost). And then was elected one of two undergraduate members of the national governing body of his fraternity at its convention this summer. It's all about persistence and dedication to service.
  • bethievtbethievt Posts: 6,753Registered User Senior Member
    My son used his election loss as a subject for a dry and witty college essay. Everyone loved it! Find the silver lining to this cloud.
  • curmudgeoncurmudgeon Posts: 12,112Registered User Senior Member
    soozie wrote:
    One year in HS, my daughter was not elected as a Senator to the Student Senate. That year, she chose to attend every meeting anyway and in fact, she started a committee on an important issue she cared about and was trying to change a policy at her high school. She worked with one or two kids (though truly led this almost singlehandedly) to write a new policy for the school that eventually went before the faculty and she took it to the school board who finally approved the new policy for the school. It took two years from start to finish. During this time, a Senator in the Senate quit and the President appointed my D as a replacement because she was always at the meetings and she was someone who was actually initiating and accomplishing something. In fact, every teacher rec and GC rec my D got for college mentions what my D accomplished in making a change at her school on this policy and how it was very rare for students in the Senate to ever truly do something of significance that effected change in the school and she did and she wasn't even elected! I think what she managed to initiate and getting new policy passed at her school (she started a second policy initiative after the first one was done) was more important than any elected title.
    Outstanding example of what I "preach" to students. IMO there is way too much emphasis on titles and honors and awards. In life and in admissions. A history of "See a problem, fix a problem" action has always been the best life plan and resume + for college, med school, whatever. Although not discounting the value of awards, not everybody has the good fortune, connections, popularity, $, background, or mentors to rack up the supposedly career making "medals" in high school or college. But everybody can do something to fix a problem and portray that something , modestly and without hyperbole, in their essays.

    (Since this is CC, afterall)...As I have discussed on this board many times before, most of the success my kid has had in admissions to UG (and now in racking up an unbelievable start to the med school admissions process) can be attributed to this simple idea. It's what gets plucked from her application essays and activities sections, singled out for discussion in interviews while the awards and titles (which again, I am not discounting) are rarely/barely mentioned.

    Whether it was working with my D, or while I was helping my niece last year, or again just last week when my niece sent a "floundering" friend to my office, it has became repeatedly clear that students almost completely discount what is truly memorable/compelling about themselves. Heck. My niece put on children's plays and did deep independent research on the Holocaust (and other Genocides). Her friend brought singers to her grammy's nursing home for entertainment night. There were no awards given and not a single reporter or school official in sight. All felt that without public approbation or the school's "Seal of Excellence" these non-awards weren't worth writing about. They were (and soon will be ) wrong (again). ;)

    What a man does with what he's got is more important than title, office, or award. And that goes double if the camera isn't rolling. ;)

    Be a do-er. That's what I'd tell him.
  • curmudgeoncurmudgeon Posts: 12,112Registered User Senior Member
    Twenty minutes to edit my post 15 tmes and I still had typos. Sheesh. What a maroon.
  • silvervestersmomsilvervestersmom Posts: 710Registered User Junior Member
    I^^You're lucky curmudgeon. Usually I can't edit any of my posts and sometimes I get timed out while writing one.
  • soozievtsoozievt Posts: 29,299Registered User, ! Senior Member
    A kid can have a title in student government (you did say this was elections) and when asked in an interview or on a resume, what he/she accomplished of significance, and not have a lot to say. Colleges care more about what was achieved and accomplished than the title one was elected to (or not). If your son is truly interested in the endeavor for which he ran for election, the fact that he was not elected, should not stop him from doing whatever it was he had hoped to do had he been elected (you did not say the nature of the activity). Otherwise, it is more about wanting the title.

    Frankly, in school elections, you can have a wonderful platform but many kids don't give a care when voting and simply vote for their friend or who they know and not what they are gonna DO.

    The important thing is to be a doer and a shaker and a shaper. If you have a title to go with it, great. If not, it doesn't matter. WHAT you do matters far far more.
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