Constant winning will do nothing to help a child grow. It will instead provide a false sense of superiority. Working hard and improving are far more important than winning.
Case in point: our swim meet a few days ago. Kaitlyn received 2 first place ribbons. One was because she swam in a heat by herself. When there is no competition, you are going to win by default. The other ribbon was from a relay she did with 3 other girls. This was not won because of her mad swim skills. This child was a little too full of herself.
Lauren came away disappointed because the best she received were 2 third place ribbons. Never mind that she is swimming against bigger and stronger girls. She was frustrated and it didn’t help that her little sister had better ribbons than her.
Just like last year, we came home and compared their times from this meet and the first one. My jaw dropped when I saw Lauren had been 4 seconds faster in both freestyle and breast stroke than the first week! That is huge! She is definitely improving and works hard to be her best.
Kaitlyn had slower times in this meet than the first. Her placements didn’t show growth. When she got a little too big for her britches, I had to point that out. I don’t enjoy watching my child deflate, but if I don’t do it, the world will.
When kids are grown and living on their own, the world will try to make them think they don’t matter. It will beat them down and leave them on the side of the road. As parents, it is our job to show them where their value lies: in how they live their lives. We need to teach them to work hard and get better, and not to be the best but to be the best they can. They need to know it is not all about them but about how much good they can do.
Sometimes we have to let kids fail so they learn the value of pushing themselves. It isn’t easy, but if we don’t let it happen, it will happen eventually. The best thing for them is for them to fail while they have us there to help pick up the pieces. When that happens, we can be there to show them how to recover from the setback and move on. Eventually, the goal should be that they are able to do this without us.
Let’s raise this generation to be able to lose gracefully, to stay humble, and to work hard.
Linking with Holley Gerth