When I was 12 years old, a 7th grader, I wanted to run for class vice president. I was not popular, just ordinary but optimistic. I had collected all of my petitions with plenty of signatures to enable me to run. My “best friend”, who I felt was much more popular than me, came to me and said that he was going to run also…for vice president. I was crushed that he would do this. My mother came to me that same evening and said something that has influenced the rest of my life. She said, “You are the best thing that has ever happened to me. You love me unconditionally like no one ever has. Those kids do not understand what they are missing. If any one of them chooses not to get to know you better, it is their loss, not yours”. I let my friend run…and he lost. But that day I knew that I did not need to be popular to be happy.

That influence has been passed down to my kids and engrained into them. It is truly one of the most memorable influential moments of my life.


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