Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Don't be afraid to be a LOSER.. and teach your kid to be one!

Why don't we teach our kids to lose?   to fail?  that life isn't fair?
I always worried when Z was growing up about how I was gonna pay the bills.  Don't we all!  But I didn't want HIM to worry; that's my job as the parent.... to worry.  So I tried to protect him from it.  And I would go without in order for him to have things so he didn't have to know how tough it was to make ends meet!
for what?
Because - and I give you this - we ALL agree that we don't want our kids to worry about stuff like that.  We want them to enjoy their childhood.  To "have it better than we had it"
but WHY??

Now I'm not saying go tell your kids a sob story to make them feel bad about themselves... I'm just saying be honest.  Teach them to WORK for things (I need to practice this too!).  Teach them the value of work and money and having things.  Teach them things don't ALWAYS come easy!

Was your life REALLY that tough?
I mean - growing up - maybe you thought it was... but seriously - it WASN'T!
I was blessed... and very lucky!  Though I would have NEVER told you that growing up.
I know now.

I have two brothers, both of which are very athletic and always played sports growing up.
One brother was always on the "winning" teams;  and the other was always on the "losing" teams
The one that was always on a winning team, doesn't lose well  (hard to imagine I know)
The one who participated in "losing" more, had a tough time growing up and dealing with it (he's sensitive!)... he got his feelings hurt, he got down, he got frustrated...
But on the flip side - when he won - OH he was so happy.  He learned to APPRECIATE winning.  And with time, he learned how to lose and how to use that to DRIVE himself to be better.
He learned that sometimes you have to WORK for things... they don't always come easy!
My other brother always expects to win.  He HAS to win.... God love him we (me and my siblings) are ALL very competitive - but let him lose at a board game or cards or whatever we might be doing - he is NOT a good "loser"  ;-)  {Love ya CG}
That doesn't make him a bad person - it's just that life handed him a different hand.
You live what you learn!

As parents, often times we do this with our children.  Not just in sports but with everything they experience growing up.
They do something wrong - we make excuses for them.... because you don't want your kid to get in trouble for something.  We worry that it looks bad on us as parents... rather than worrying about what we are teaching our children.
They don't do good in a game, and we pat them on the back and tell them they are the BEST even if they messed up.
Now - don't get me wrong here.... don't jump ship thinking I'm a HORRIBLE person and a TERRIBLE mom...  Don't judge!
I'm all about positive reinforcement.  I'm all about boosting ego and making children feel good about themselves and building self esteem.
But there is a line.
If your kid doesn't practice for the big game, or recital, or play or whatever it may be that they are involved in - don't make excuses for them.  They didn't put in the work.   Tell them so.
Otherwise, it teaches them that they don't have to TRY
That everything should just come easy
It teaches them to belittle people who DO work hard... it teaches them to play VICTIM!
It's NOT OK to NOT be prepared.
"I love you and you're very talented, but you didn't earn first place today."
One thing that drives me CRAZY is trophies!
Since when does every team get a trophy?!!
Things (not just sports) are set up to be a competition... for a reason.
There is a winner, and welcome to reality - there ARE losers!!!
(Loser is NOT a curse word... it simply means someone did better than you... in other words - WORK HARDER!)

It's preparation for life!

When you got your job - did you INTERVIEW for it?  Did others interview for it?
Someone WINS (gets the job) and someone LOSES (doesn't get the job)
Shouldn't we PREPARE our children for this?

There aren't consolation prizes in life!

Shouldn't we prepare them to lose?  So they know what to DO with that loss??

{{step down off of soap box}}

I know I got off on a bit of a rant there... but the whole sense of "entitlement" that children present themselves with these days is out of control.
Kids that sit on the couch and demand snacks to be delivered to them... kids that demand the newest video game that's out.... kids that REQUIRE the newest and best car at 16!

Is life really THAT easy?
Should we prepare them to believe that it is.

Life isn't fair
and you DO have to WORK for things you WANT in life.

Teach your kids that it's OK to LOSE.
And then teach them what to DO with that loss...
teach them to use that loss
to DRIVE them
to PUSH them harder...
to WORK harder....
to WANT more from life!!

Teach them to lose.   It's ok

I have recently started power lifting...
The only thing I wanted for my birthday (yesterday) was to be able to bench 100 pounds....
It's all I thought about yesterday.
I've trained
I mentally thought about it and did the lift it in my head all day
And I got to the gym last night.... and I made my attempt

I could let that crush my spirit and walk away defeated.  Frustrated.  MAD.
But I will instead (and have already) do some research... talk to people more experienced than me.... ask questions... figure out what else I can do to reach my goal.

I will use that FAILURE to catapult me to be even better.

It's ok to fail.... it's what you do with that failure that matters the MOST!

Here is my failure.   I shared it on a public forum to get advice and tips from those more experienced than me... and I have already, in less than 24 hours, taken this failure and turned it into a plan to BE BETTER.

BE a loser - and teach your kid to be one too!

To be a good loser, is to learn how to WIN.   
~Carl Sandburg~


Kelly said...

Totally agree with this post. I did have a difficult adolescence in my family and plan on sharing it with my children. I think being honest with them and allowing them to know reality and how blessed they are will help them to be more successful. You don't always win and sometimes bad things happen to good people but it's how you react that counts. We don't get to control what happens to us but we do get to control how we deal with it. Great post!

Shell said...

I do think it's good to allow our kids to fail, to learn how to lose. But it's also important for them to have opportunities to win, too