The Faith of a Child

The past couple of weeks have been absolutely insane.  I had been working from 8:30AM until 6:30PM most nights getting ready for the big event that was this past weekend.

To really get the full impact of this story, though, I really need to back up to the year before last.  This is my fourth year as a teacher.  At the end of my second year, one of my coworkers and I were called into the principal’s office and asked a very, very loaded question.

“Do you want to take over as Beta Club advisers?”

We both laughed and gave the typical “we’ll think about it” response, but when we left his office, we both joked about how that would never happen. Not in a million years.

We were so amused by the entire situation that we told the story to our other coworker, who responded in a most unusual way, “I use to be the Beta Club adviser where I use to work.  We use to go to conventions, and it was a lot of fun.  I’ll do it, but I want y’all to help me.”

We both stood there for a minute, “Really?”

Yeah.

Okay, then… Let’s do it.

The next year was a huge learning curve for us.  We took the Beta Club at our school from just over 100 members to nearly 400 members.  We raised the requirements, made the group invitation-only, spruced up the induction ceremony to make it more official, created texting line to keep everyone it contact with one another, and I made a very official website that is now proudly located on the front page of the school’s website.

That year, we took ten kids to compete at the state level and we got our asses handed to us.  We didn’t have a clue what we were doing, and so it was a very large learning curve.

At the end of that first year as advisers, we decided that three was not big enough, since at the end of the year, we were pushing almost 550 students.  We brought on another teacher.

This year, we got some pretty shocking news: two of the advisers were leaving, which meant that me and my coworker had to find two or more other teachers to take their places.  Luckily, we did that pretty quickly by bringing on the academic team coach, an art teacher, and an English teacher who was also the dance coach.

We then quickly threw the art teacher under a bus and handed her the scrapbook and banner teams to make them get prepared with only three weeks to go before the competition, but it took all of us, and towards the end of those three weeks (read: Monday and Wednesday of last week), I ended up staying at school until 6:30pm and 8:00pm respectfully.

Thursday was spent in a hurried panic.  Erin dropped me and a coworker we’d picked up off at the school so that we didn’t have to leave our cars there over the weekend.  I rushed around all over the school, getting my last two classes covered so I could help get stuff organized and get all our kids onto the chartered bus.

We had 29 in total.  Last year, we competed in nearly every competition except talent, state office, banner, and art.  This year, we were taking a banner and a student who had decided to run for state office, which mean we also took a skit team with us as part of the campaign.  It’s a weird requirement.

We had students competing in nearly every subject.  We had two students entering the art competitions.

We got in Thursday night, wandered around, settled into our hotel rooms, and went to sleep.  The next morning, I was up at 6, but I laid around until my coworker woke up.  We ate breakfast, got coffee (well, she did), and then started to get ready for our big day.

I had a judges’ meeting at 12:30, followed by a quick lunch, and then judging special talent (which we were competing in) at 1:45pm.  I dealt with some drama before being disqualified as a judge for the competition.  They tried to disqualify my school because they weren’t at the competition on time, which made me throw down about how we’d gotten special permission from the lady who was trying to throw us out, which then alerted the ones in charge that I had students in the competition, which then made them disqualify me.

But not before my kids got to perform, which is all I cared about.  We ended up not placing in the finals, but that didn’t bother me.  They had their chance, and that was the only thing that was important to me.

Our state officer candidate gave his speech that night and our skit went over fairly well (it was a really simple skit.  No props, but one our students did gymnastics, and he did a couple of back flips on the stage, which got people all excited), schmoozed with all the people he came in contact with, and I watched everything very closely.  I looked at the different schools that he promised votes to who then promised votes to us.  My question always was, “How many students do they have?”

After the speech, he always said, “Ms. H.  I’m not here to get elected.  I’m here to make a change in Beta.”

I always responded, “Yes, well that would be easier if you were elected now, wouldn’t it?”

He would then say, “I will be elected…. If that is what God wants.”

If that is what God wants.  Why can’t I have faith like that?

Why can’t I?  Why don’t I?

I use to have faith like that.  I use to have this unwavering faith in the Gods and that everything would turn out the way that it was supposed to in their time.  And then somewhere along the way, it got lost.  I don’t know if was nearly everyone I knew around me was getting married and/or having babies, or if it was the failed adoption… or the failed fertility treatment soon after… or the diagnosis of PCOS… or whatever.

But somewhere along the lines, I decided that my being in control was more important than the Gods being in control, and now here I am… exactly where I was to begin with… trying to figure out all the details to make sure our kid had the best chance at getting elected, and he was just doing his own thing and leaving it up to God.

Saturday morning, the other advisers and I had a breakfast to go to.  It was at the end of this breakfast at I became elected as the new “head adviser” for the Beta Club.  This happened when the other three returning advisers for next year decided to become coordinators for the state convention, which meant that I was going to end up being the one who had to figure out where everyone needed to go and what everyone needed to be doing.  I’m now, very suddenly, the one in charge.

We’re screwed came to mind.

It was later that day while scoping out the scrapbooks that I heard two fairly large schools make a deal: we’ll vote for you if you vote for us.  I thought, that’s going to possibly really hurt us.  At the next meeting, the kids were suddenly divided in who they were going to vote for outside of our secretary (which was what we had a student running for).

Our student said, “I’m voting numbers 4, 10, and 15.  They can vote for whoever they want.”  Number 4 was himself.  Number 10 was a long shot candidate from a smaller school, and number 15 was another student from a different school in our county who was a favorite to win (mostly because he rapped/rhymed his whole campaign speech).

Our kids were all over the place with their voting, and if they weren’t solidified past the number 4, then how could other schools be solidified on our side?  And we were one of the smaller groups there (some schools brought 90+ students.  We have 29.)

But the voting came and went, and then all we could do was wait until that night.  It was at that point, while we were waiting, that I gave up.  He was right, after all, and I knew he was: I’m not the one in control here.  The higher power is, and I needed to let go and let be.

“And now we’re going to announce the finalists for the quiz bowl, which will take place at 2pm this afternoon.”

I was only half listening through the noise when I hear my school’s name called.  I looked at my coworker who was clapping and cheering, so I knew I must not have misheard them.  We were in the finals for quiz bowl, which didn’t happen last year.

At just after 2pm, we got knocked out by the school who would later go on to win the whole competition, which meant we ended up placing seventh overall.

When we got to the last meeting of the day, we sat through farewell speech after farewell speech and then group talent final after group talent final.  Finally, they started to announce the winners.  I went up front to go take pictures.

The current student state secretary stood up and walked to the podium.  He started talking about various things and then realized he didn’t have the results.  A woman ran up with a sheet of paper and everyone laughed about it.

Then he said, “And now.. your new South Carolina Beta Club State Secretary is….”  He paused.

And then he proudly shouted my student’s name.  I jumped up and down, screaming and punching the air.  He walked/jogged to the front, and I snapped photos like I was part of the paparazzi.  They swore him into office, he gave his acceptance speech before taking his place on the stage.  I watched him while he silently prayed on stage and took a few more photos before I took my spot at the side of the room to wait for the next announcements.

One by one, they ran through the winners of each category, and by the end of the night, we had four winners: the state secretary position, first place is division I science, first place in pencil drawing, and third place in banner.

On top of those wins, we learned that almost all of our students who didn’t place were literally seconds away from placing into third place (if there’s a tie in score, then the winner goes to who finished first).  We even had a student who, on whim, took the agriculture test and placed fifth.

I was so pumped from everything that I didn’t sleep much at all that night.  Or much at all that weekend.  When we got home on Sunday, I fell asleep on the couch for three hours.

I like to think that everything happens for a reason.  My coworker encouraged this student to run, made him believe that he had a chance at winning, and in turn, he ended up teaching me a valuable lesson about faith, giving me a valuable reminder that I’m not the one in charge.  They are.

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Posted on February 17, 2015, in Faith, Spirituality, Teaching and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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