It was a red plate night.
In our house, when we want to recognize someone's accomplishment, they get a red plate at dinner time. It stands out against our usual white. And I hope it makes them all sorts of seen and their efforts known.
It might come out for a great report at parent/teacher conferences. Or going the extra length to help out in the house. Or when mom or dad "catch" them in an act of true kindness. Or celebrating a winning sports game. Whatever might come up that's cause for YEAH!
Yesterday when we sat down for dinner, my daughter asked who was getting the red plate. And her face flushed with genuine surprise when I said YOU.
Because there was a student council election at school, and she came home sharing that she'd lost.
And yes, maybe as far as winning that title, she'd lost.
But really she'd won.
By being willing to be brave. To be vulnerable. To go after a goal.
By hugging the friend that took the coveted spot and congratulating her.
By handling her disappointment with grace.
By learning that sometimes we win and sometimes we lose, but life's really important lessons come from the journey and not the outcome.
By jumping in a race she cared about and giving her best effort.
That's a red plate kind of dinner night.
We'll cheer for that.
We'll celebrate that.
We'll recognize that.
And my girl? Well, she sat down to her red plate… and smiled.