Recently, Evan realized that he's not the fastest runner in the whole wide world.
Even though he's not really into running, and doesn't generally choose to run as his outside activity, and, quite honestly, he looks like me (read: like a baby giraffe) when he runs, he just assumed that he, probably, was the fastest....well, maybe not in the world. But most likely among his friends. It wasn't arrogance, it just hadn't occurred to him, I think, that he might not be.
This weekend, while running around with the neighborhood kids, Evan, looking like someone whose belief system had just been shaken, walked up to Sam. Shoulders slumped, eyes downcast, he said, "I'm not the fastest. Not even in my class. Jake is faster. The girls are faster."
Sam told him that it's okay not to be the fastest, but that if he wanted to run faster, practice could help him.
And so they ran. Up and down the sidewalk in front of our house. And they laughed. And Evan ran right in front of Sam, cutting him off, playing a little dirty. And it was fun.
Sweaty and out of breath, but feeling good and accomplished, Evan walked up the driveway and met me near the garage.
"Mom. I'm not the fastest kid in my class."
"No. And even if you practice and practice and practice and get SO GOOD at running, you still might not be."
He stared at me. Disbelieving. "Why not?"
"Well, you can't always be the best at every single thing."
In silence, he walked away.
A few minutes later, he returned, having given my harsh reality check some thought:
"I might not be the fastest runner; but I bet I'm the sneakiest like a ninja."
Happily, away he skipped.
He's young to come to terms with that Truth. Hope it sticks.