One day when I arrived home from work I found a very serious six-year-old working on a project on our dining room table. I assumed it was for school but I was mistaken. “I am designing a dress Daddy,” Heather explained. “Okay,” I said and added, “Why?” Heather told me that a local clothing store was having a contest for kids ages 6 to 12 to design a dress. If you won, the store would actual make the dress.
I had a couple of problems with this scene that I had just walked into, so I searched for Heather’s Mom. When I tracked her down, I did my best to expressed my chief concern. This was a contest for 6 to 12 year-olds and the odds of a 6 year-old winning were not at all good, or for that matter anybody’s chances were not great. And here I walk into my home witnessing not only that my six-year-old daughter was attempting to design a dress, but also that Heather had no doubt she would win the contest.
I pleaded with her mother to help me lower Heather’s expectations. So, I went into the dining room to discuss the entire scenario. I explained how her age plus the amount of contestants would make winning the contest virtually impossible. I explained that it still was a great experience to enter, work as hard as you could and to take great satisfaction that she competed and had a good time. Heather always had a “knowing” look, wise beyond her years. She said, “I understand what you are saying Daddy. But I am still going to win.”
What could I do now? Wait and hope that my daughter won’t be crushed with disappointment? There was another entire possibility for which I hadn’t accounted. Nowhere in my thoughts was the idea that Heather could actually win the contest. Two weeks later I came home from work and Heather is beaming. “What’s up Princess?” I asked. “I won the contest Daddy, I get my dress in two weeks.” That was the day I realized that Heather would always be able to accomplish whatever she had set in her mind. For years Heather had that dress, just to remind her that anything is possible.
She probably knew just one of the following things: How proud I was of her. And how stupid I felt for trying to lower her expectations. Now she has two daughters of her own. I can’t wait until they both enter a “Design Your Own Dress Contest”. This time, I’ll just encourage them and wait. It is never fun to be wrong as a Daddy, or even as a Grand-Daddy.
That is it for a Hump Day.
Thanks for dropping by the WTIT Studio today.
Parts of this post appeared on July 17, 2006.
We will return unless they pass a law against it.
Hey, you never know.
Join us then. Same time, Same blog.