Winners and Losers
June 25, 2012
Winners and Losers
One of the great things about being a parent is that you see your values and character traits reflected in your children.
One of the worst things about being a parent is that you see your values and character traits reflected in your children. Suddenly, you call into question the strength of your conviction.
A few weeks ago I wrote about my son’s competitive spirit. He loves to compete because he loves to win. He’s a good athlete and big for his age so lately it seems he wins a lot. He won two gold medals in his karate tournament. His soccer team is 6 and 0 and he routinely scores each game.
His competitive edge goes beyond sports. He loves to play cards and games. He loves to put together complex Lego machines with 42-step instructions.
But God help us if he loses. It’s a tantrum of epic proportions. He screams. He yells (yes those are two different things). He destroys things. He hits his sister. He HATES everything.
He’s six years old. When he loses he behaves exactly as I feel when I lose.
I have more perspective on the game, whatever it may be. I know some losses can be shrugged off and usually I have the maturity to modulate my public expression of anger and frustration in defeat. But we know many a public figure in sports, entertainment and politics who behaves like a 6-year-old when they lose. Age and professionalism is not a certainty of emotion restraint.
In the world of my small children, competition is frowned upon. There are no losers. Everyone is a winner. Everyone gets a ribbon for participating.
I’m not sure that’s a good thing. It’s important to excel and sometimes the best way to push ourselves is to test our ability against another. It is important to be rewarded for our talents, not just our efforts.
Competition helps us discover what we are good at. Being rewarded for our talents encourages us to develop them.
Talent alone will not make us successful. Hard work, tenacity and respect are necessary as well. But we won’t get very far in the first place without talent.
Competing means sometimes you are going to discover someone is better than you at the game. No matter what, that’s always a kick in the head. But if we are smart, we dust off our ego, shake hands and offer our congratulations. We ask our competitor, “How did you do that?” And we get better.
At my son’s 6th birthday party he lost out in the first round of Hot Potato. I saw him bite his lip and growl under his breath. But he stepped out of the circle and cheered the players who were left. He’s learning. Then he kicked-butt in the 3-legged race.
Subscribe to the Retrofit Blog.
Login to make instant comments to the blog.
Or Register to comment on our blog.
Sign up to make comments to the blog.