Sunday, November 24, 2013

Tips on Being Awesomely Embarrassing

Being a mentor/guardian figure has it perks. One of those perks is being able to work with your kids on great accomplishments. The other is embarrassing them in the process. I think the second might be my favorite. 

Case in point: Yesterday I got to assist one of my kids with an interview to win a trip to Washington DC. It was the second stage of the application process and we were floating on clouds of proudness. 
So the night before she stayed at my house and we helped her with her final essay and the all-important outfit choices. Dressed in my bright blue sweater and Tiffany’s black pants (along with her converse tennis shoes) she looked ready to win it all.

Up early we ate a solid breakfast of oatmeal and I tried to pump her up with advice on interview skills. I think I succeeded in thoroughly overwhelming her with “Don't forget, eye contact! Smile! Speak clearly! You’ve GOT this!” 
I was excited.

At 9:30 we were out the door and on our way. When we pulled up I think we were both surprised as we watched well-dressed white kids walk into the door of the center. I could tell my kiddo got a little nervous so I continued on my cycle of endless positivity. “You are going to do so well! I am so proud of you!” I repeated as we prayed and walked in. 

Over the next hour of waiting I felt seriously nervous, and I wasn’t even the one being interviewed! To keep the mood light and her nerves subdued I acted as the awesomely fun mentor/aunt. 

Surrounded by kids that were obviously not from the reservation she whispered to me, “I feel weird.”

“Whyy?” I whispered back. “Because you are nervous?” 

“No, because of all the white people!” 

I laughed, because it was true, the two of us coming in together stuck out in the room for sure. 

To make matters more hilarious, the monitor gave the kids strict instructions not to tell the judges what school they were from. With only one reservation school being represented I leaned over and jokingly whispered, “Yea, ok, like they aren’t going to know what school you go to just by looking at you!” 

Later I texted on my phone and handed it over:

“All these white kids look the same.” 

She laughed and as her one friend left the interview room she whispered, “And now I’m the only Apache!”

I acted extremely offended. “Hey! Watch it! I’m Apache. . . kind of. . . in my heart.” 

She shook her head. 

Finally her name was called for the interview. 

“Eeee! You’ve got this! You are going to do so great!” I whispered. As she walked out the door I couldn’t help myself, the mom came out in me and I called out, “Proud of you!!” 

Embarrassing mentor points: +10.  It was one of my finest moments. 

So proud :) 

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