As it turns out, participating in the virtual BBQ recipe contest this week was about more than winning, it was about lessons learned, both for me and my family.

Honesty Counts

120511_FowlerPark_059Like it or not, my kids learn from me every day. Usually I’m persistent and creative when I’ve got a goal in sight. The kids have seen this and anyone who’s spent much time with them knows just how creative children can be. Mine knew there was a cash prize involved and wanted to help.

I turned down children who offered to comment with more than one email address—“If we win it, we’ll win it fair”—and kids who didn’t already have an email address. They even saw me delete two comments from people who had accidentally commented twice, and I think if you check the time stamp (it wasn’t the total number of comments, but those left within the first 24 hours of the contest) that’s about the margin by which I lost.

So . . . my kids know that if I’d allowed those with more than one email address to vote twice, or let the three who didn’t already have email addresses vote, or didn’t delete duplicate comments, we’d probably have won. And it’s good that they know that, good to know that winning the prize isn’t more important than how you do it.

There are People You Can Count on in a Pinch

If honesty was the big lesson for my kids, then seeing that there are folks who’ve got my back was my lesson. I’ve held lots of reader giveaways where leaving a comment equals a chance to win something. If the giveaway is really special, I email friends and family so that they know about it. I’m always surprised when the prize is good and people don’t comment, but it doesn’t affect me—I can’t win—it’s a choice they make.

In this recipe contest, however, every comment equalled a vote for me and gave nothing to the commenter except a new recipe, if they chose to copy it. And yet, more friends commented than when I give something away. They spared a moment of their time just to help me.

I read all of the comments here, but admittedly giveaway comments sound a lot alike: “What a great _______! I could really use that! Pick me!” I’ve left that response on giveaway posts myself. Although many “Thanks for the recipe!” and “I can’t wait to try this!” comments were left for my Southwest Chicken Salad recipe, it was the names next to them that held my attention: friends who’ve probably never commented on a blog; my husband’s co-workers (I can just imagine him telling them to go check out his wife’s recipe); even my daddy. Every comment was a gift and brought a smile to my face.

Although I may not have won the actual prize, I can’t really say that I lost. Do you remember a time when you felt this way?

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