Thursday, November 17, 2011

My son...the loser?

Yes, I want my son to eventually be a loser.

Why?

No, it's not some weird thing where I want my son to fail or think he isn't capable. It's a fact of life: You can't win at everything. Sometimes you have to lose.

It's interesting that this was one of the themes of a recent episode of Parenthood. But it's the truth. You shouldn't shield your kids from losing. 

I opened this up to my Facebook recently. I'll share some of the comments with you: (I apologize for it being tiny...it copies funny from FB)

 I think it is setting the world up for a bunch of spoiled brats that have no value in learning from loss and growing their character

Not good. Losing is a part of life.

 Kids need to learn that they can't always win, and with that comes lessons on hard work and perseverence. But everything doesn't have to be a competition either: )

 Losing is a part of life. I think learning how to bow out gracefully and how to be a polite winner is a much more important lesson than no winners or losers.

I think the kids that are getting awards for everything feel like they are owed something. And feel worthless and angry when not given what is owed them in their minds. As mentioned before losing is a part of life, we don't always get what we want or even what we may deserve. Sadly, these kids are learning that they don't have to work for anything I order to get their reward in life.

A good natured competitive spirit is a good thing. You win some you lose some. Kids need to know this!

 I think for some, friendly competition is motivation. Later in life, it's hard to be motivated for say, a job you don't like. I wish I was a little more competitive! However, I think you can also stress individual goals. You may not win each battle, but you finish the game!

 
I have two very different feelings on this. As a parent, I do think it's important to understand losing and winning and have a healthy (not overly emphasized) sense of competition. Winning and losing is part of life and kids need to be brought up to understand you can learn from your mistakes and improve your losses. However, as a teacher, I find it very detrimental to implement too much competition in the classroom. Especially with special education children, who very rarely "win" against their peers. I don't like my kids to come into class always competing with each other and calling each other losers in games and lessons. I do think it's important for them to compete against themselves and to "win" by improving their individual achievement. But it can have a very negative effect on children to be conditioned from a young age that winning and losing is so important, particularly for students who are not going to be winning much when put against peers with higher abilities in a lot of fields. Hope that makes sense.

 How will you ever know that you have succeeded unless you have failed?

It seems so strange that my kids have been given trophies for nothing more than showing up to dance class (yes, DANCE class) and soccer practice. They do not value those "awards" at ALL. My oldest 2 have played sports in Boys & Girls Club, which is a non-competitive league, so the scores don't mean anything, except in volleyball, because they play best of 3 games up to 25 points. Even in a non-competitive league, it's the PARENTS who get SO competitive & take the win/lose situation really far. Not all of them, but I feel bad for the kids whose parents compete through them. Healthy competition is good, but winning at all cost or being berated after a game (or during) for the way you played can't be good for those poor kids. They will certainly lose any love of playing the sport in those environments.

I think it is good for kids to learn how to lose. Build character and helps them learn to deal with disappointment. 
Also, I think everyone should be acknowledged for trying and doing their best. Too much focus is often put on the winners, but just because you lose doesn't mean you are a "loser"...if you did your best, that is what matters.


So, the general consensus was: Kids need to learn that losing happens and how to deal with it...but also how to be a gracious winner. I agree 100%. I remember doing Field Day at my school (does that still happen?) and everyone got a ribbon...but it was a place ribbon. If there were 7 participants and you came in dead last you got a 7th place ribbon. The kid that won got a bright blue 1st place ribbon. I remember doing my best at some thing and failing miserably...but the kids that got higher placement would ALWAYS congratulate the rest of us on a good try and job well done. No one flaunted (and if they did it was friendly competition and always in good taste...a silly victory dance or something)


What are your thoughts? Do kids need to win and lose? Or is it best when everyone is equal?

3 comments:

  1. So true...I agree that children should not be set up to always "win". Doing your best, with the Lord's help, is so much more important.

    First visit here...I have thoroughly enjoyed browsing through your blog! :)

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  2. I think it is important for kids to lose. I remember in horse shows, sometimes the littlest kids all got ribbons in their class... I hated that when I was little. But only because I always won ;)

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