True Confessions: My Failed Attempt as Student Council Campaign Manager
posted by: Amber Johnson
At the beginning of the school year, my fourth grader Bode announced he was running for Student Council and hoped to be one of two kids elected to represent his class.
I was pleased with his aspirations. He’s an affable, friendly bloke and has always been a born leader. His preschool teacher frequently commented what an obedient kid he was and how he was always motivating others to make good choices, a trait he still has.
My daughter, on the other hand, takes after me with a more Joseph Stalin-dictator approach. During her toddler years at library storytime, she’d be singing and dancing, would stop in her tracks when she saw kids doing the actions incorrectly and forcibly correct them. Because they were obviously too stupid to figure it out for themselves.
At my kids’ elementary school, only grades 4-6 are eligible for Student Council. I’d never been involved in student government until my junior year at BYU when I ran for–and shockingly won–the position of Executive Director of Public Relations. My belated political aspirations may-or-may not have been about making a difference and had more to do with the cute guy who announced the position opening in our communications class.
Since Bode still can’t stomach kissing on TV, I was pretty sure he was running for all the right reasons and wasn’t in it impress any hotties. I turned to my friend Lisa, mother of 5, for some advice.
Me: “How long should his speech be?”
Her: “Just a few minutes. Have him talk about things he can actually do, like being inclusive and not promising two hour recess.”
Me: “Can he bring
bribery campaign treats?”
Her: “Within reason.”
Note to self: Scratch the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-themed party.
He: “Does he do any other campaigning like posters?”
Her: “You’re way overthinking this.”
I ignored her slight and took on my new role as campaign manager with all the zealousness of Reece Witherspoon in the satire dramedy Election. That night at dinner, I casually brainstormed campaign slogans. “How about Bode, Bode, he’s not ‘grody.'”
Husband: “You’re setting him up to a lifetime of being bullied. Kids have yet to figure out ‘grody’ is the only thing that rhymes with his name.”
“How about ‘Bode, he’s your guy. If you don’t vote him, he will cry.'”
Husband: “You’re fired.”
I wasn’t sure if he really meant it or if he was referencing how we felt after Donald Trump’s recent debate.
Undaunted, I went out of town for a few days but promised Bode I’d help him fine-tune his speech later. Upon my return, I met him at the bus stop.
“Guess what, Mom. I won the election?”[Insert my panic attack; I had missed it?]
“What do you mean you won? You weren’t supposed to give your speech until Monday!”
“I know. There were eight of us who said we wanted to run but I was only one of two who turned in my paperwork on time.”
Co-Class President by default? We’ll take it.
And so begins a promising political career.