Last year I shared a story about my 12 year old daughter that runs. She's rarely been first at anything, but at a big cross country invitational she was coming into the home stretch and was bunched up with a few runners, and it looked like she was going to take it all. They went up the final dirt hill and the girl behind her tripped and took a hard fall. She instantly started crying.
My daughter turned her head, saw the other runner on the ground. She stopped, turned around and helped the competitor get back up on her feet. She said, "Come on, you can finish it!" Then they both got back into the race.
It took every ounce of my competitive being not to yell at her to keep running, she was in first! I wanted my daughter to finally feel the joy of winning something big. Another mom that was standing next to my husband turned to him and said, "I've been coming to these races for a lot of years and that's the nicest thing I've ever seen."
Ultimately my daughter took 6th place and was met with big congratulations from us. I talked to her on the way home and asked her why she stopped to help the other runner and she explained, "It was the right thing to do. Plus, there will be lots of other races and chances for me to take first. I'll probably never remember those, but I'll always remember this one."
Fast forward almost a year. My daughter was asked to bring in an object for one of her classes. They needed to speak about the object for two minutes. I saw her in her room rifling through pictures, trinkets and finally up to the trophy shelves. She's been in competitive sports since she was five so she must have over 30 trophies up there. She dug out just the right one and put it into her bag.
I noticed later that she chose the 6th place trophy from the invitational that she could have taken first in if she had not stopped to help the runner that had fallen. I asked her, "So with the dozens of trophies you have up there and lots of first and second place ones, what made you pick this one?"
She looked at me with an expression that made me feel silly for asking the question, "Oh, that's easy. This is the only one that means anything to me."
I love when the student becomes the teacher.