I had just raced my daughter to the bathroom when we were at Borders tonight, and she “won.” (I did actually have to run myself as she is a little speedster).
I told her we could race back and asked her who she thought would win. “Me,” she answered. “Well, I don’t know, but probably me. I’ll try to.” Big smile from her.
Then she said,
“If you want to win, you have to try to win. But if you lose, just don’t cry about it.”
It was like she was sharing a life-coaching tip. She wasn’t telling me that personally, but sharing in general what she has come to understand about our view of life. I don’t think Don and I have ever said that to her specifically. It’s just her own conclusion about how we think life should work.
We want our kids to understand competition, to embrace it, so that they can learn what it takes to win – determination, hard work, lots of practice, and courage. To strive for excellence in all they put their hand to. People don’t usually win by accident. You have to “try to win” like my daughter said.
But we also want our kids to understand that they can’t always win. We all lose sometimes. That’s okay. Be respectful to the other person/team and try to figure out a way to grow or get better from the experience. Like they learn in Chess Club, look the other person in the eye and say, “Good game.” And then get ready for the next match.