Last week O came home from school. Excited. He was clutching a green form and couldn't wait for me to read it over.
"I'm running for student council!" he said. Then he plopped himself down at the dining room table and started drafting his platform. This kid had it all figured out. Each classroom can have two students on the council, and rather than have the students vote for the candidates, the teachers pick based on the quality of answers to the two questions they posed on the green form.
I have to admit, I broke out into a little sweat when I saw how excited he was about joining student council. On one hand, I'm happy that he's excited about an extra-curricular activity. O isn't much of a joiner, although he's an outgoing and social child. You know those parents who have their kids signed up for karate, piano lessons, fall soccer, spring baseball, math tutoring, and fifth grade chorus? Well, my husband and I bear no resemblance to them. We're happy to sleep in on a Saturday morning while our neighbors schlep grumpy kids and gear to chilly soccer fields at 7:30 a.m. With dismay I noticed that should O get selected for student council, he'd need to attend before-school meetings every other week.
"That's okay, Mom," he said. "I have a lot of stuff I want to bring up in those meetings. I won't have any trouble getting up early."
Never mind that we've got to drive him there.
O is getting to that age where I look at him and see that he's his own person and the whole concept just blows my mind a little. His interests and traits are all his. When he was in preschool, his teachers told us O was the classroom conflict resolver; the other children would turn to him when there was a problem and he'd try to solve it. I remember my husband and I looking at each other, and I'm sure we were both thinking about how when we were in school, we were the ones causing the conflicts. O loves working on a team whereas his father and I are classic introverts, happy to be left alone in our own little worlds. How could we end up with a kid who plays well with others? How did we get a politician???
We'll find out in the next week if O was picked. He wrote what I thought was a compelling answer to why they should pick him, and he ran out of room on the sheet listing all the problems he hoped to resolve for the school this year, everything from buying a tetherball for the playground to developing a campaign to get kids to wash their hands after using the toilet, which, according to my slightly OCD son, doesn't happen as much as he would like.
I'm not sure fifth graders are impressed by public health initiatives, so I'm glad the teachers are picking.