Yes, you read it right. Now before you go sending me hate mail, let me explain.
Today my husband and I took our third child bowling on a special day out. He is seven years old. We are all quite competitive in nature so it was “game on” with all of us giving our best effort in hopes to win.
It came down to only of a couple of points in the last frame separating my husband and son from the highest score. My husband was last up to bowl. If he knocked a couple of pins down and earned a few points he would win the game and beat us both. He paused and we looked at each other, knowing all too well that if he won, it would “ruin” our son’s special day out. He would pout and whine and we were both secretly wondering if we had the energy to cope with it all. It would be easier to just “let him” win. But my husband always does what he believes is right, so he knocked those pins down and won the game. Our son Nathan lost by one point.
I will admit it was tough to watch him slump over in defeat. His Dad reassured him and encouraged him to keep trying and pointed out how close he was to beating him. He talked to him all the way home about winning and losing. He told him that your true character is revealed not when you are winning but when you are losing.
How you react to losing is a life lesson.
It is a tough lesson, but the more you lose, the better you will be able to handle it, and learning to lose is the only way you ever become a real winner.
We actually want our kids to experience the pain of losing. It is one of the many reasons we believe in putting our children in team sports. You are not always going to win. This is also true in the game of life. Many lessons come from losing. When you lose you have to try harder the next time. You build upon your work ethic, giving increased effort, and you must work on developing a positive attitude. You must learn the ability to handle pressure, build fortitude, develop resilience and learn good sportsmanship. These are skills that need time to develop and grow. These are skills you need to be able to cope with life as an adult when things get tough.
Don’t get me wrong, we want our kids to win too. Yet victory is sweeter once you have tasted defeat. We want our kids to earn their wins. We refuse to hand it to them. My husband could have thrown the game and let our son be the winner today. But instead, he chose the harder option. In the end, we know it is best for our son. And that is why I’m okay with raising a loser.
He thinks he is losing but what he doesn’t realize yet is that he is actually winning…winning at life.