Monday, March 17, 2014

“You Can’t Win Them All”

The 9-year old about ot hit the streets
Char and I went to the store the other day, why I am not sure, but I am positive it was of necessity for me to drag my carcass out of the recliner. As we ventured by a parked car, a grandfather was strapping his grandson into his seat belt. We couldn’t hear the conversation, but it was obvious that the little tyke was whining about something and just as obvious that he was not getting his way. He was giving it his best effort, however.

Just as we passed the open door, we heard the sound of the seatbelt click and then grandfather say, “You can’t win them all.”

I thought of this yesterday as we were driving around town and the 9-year old was trying hard to plead her case about movie night. Every Sunday night in our home is family movie night. The girls, the 9-year old and myself take turns each week picking out a family orientated movie, we make bowls of popcorn, turn down the lights and snuggle in for the movie. I started this by picking Wizard of Oz, which the little one had not seen yet. The next week she picked Dumbo and from there each of the girls picked a movie–Blackbeard’s Ghost, Brave, and Despicable Me.

This past Sunday night was my turn again.

However, as we were discussing the fact that I was to pick this week’s movie, the 9-year old tried to persuade us that we were wrong and it was her turn. She had a lawyer’s argument prepared and was pleading her case with anecdotes and testimony from her memory, which was slightly altered from the true facts of the case. Finally, we just told her, “Sorry, it’s Robbie’s turn. Yours is next week.” Basically, we told her, “You can’t win them all.”

And you can’t. Trust me, I have learned this the hard way sometimes. Life is not about you winning everything you set out to win. However, I think we do our children a great disservice if we cave into everything they want and allow them to win every argument. What are we teaching our children by making them winners all the time, especially when they actually lost? I know we want to see them succeed; we want to boost their self-esteem and make them see themselves as perfect little human beings who can do no wrong.

But that’s not reality.

Sometimes we win. Sometimes we lose. It even comes in as a tie at times where no one wins or loses. As parents we need to teach them that and prepare them for life outside of our homes because hopefully, they do move out one day. Life is not always fair. It’s not meant to be.
Zac fixing his surfboard

We also lower the level by which our children will strive to be the best by allowing them to win all the time. If everything is handed to them, why should they then work for anything? Our welfare system is full of people with this exact mentality. It’s great to receive that participation ribbon that says, “Great, you showed up.” Yet, not everyone should receive that first place ribbon that says they excelled, especially when they didn’t. It cheapens the effort of those who go all out for what they want. It is a parent’s job to make them want to strive to improve, to be the best that they can be at whatever they attempt. We hurt them by making them winners even before they’ve joined the competition.

They are winners in our eyes and they should be, always. We should make them feel like winners and encourage them to push for their dreams as we help them achieve them. We should not expect the rest of the world to do the same, however, and we need to prepare them for that. The best way to do that is not allow them to win at home all the time. It’s all right to lose once in a while, especially when it’s my turn to pick out the movie.

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  1. A great lesson told in an adorable way! Your household must be full of really great up and comers with that kind of coaching going on.