By: Mia L. Hazlett
That’s right, I said it. When my kids don’t win, they lose. Therefore they are not winners, they are losers. And if your kid was on my kid’s team that lost, they are losers too. As a mother, I feel it is my job to tell them they are losers. I guess I’ll bite my tongue when it comes to your kid. But don’t get all upset, when they win, I tell them they are winners. But, not everyone is a winner. I mean why the heck are they playing a game if no one is going to win? Because if no one is a loser, than is there really a winner?
I just believe if my kids can’t handle losing Candyland or a Go-Fish game in the house, than what is going to happen when they lose a game at school or camp. I’m going to get a phone call from some teacher or counselor. I’m still working on my five year-old with gracefully winning and losing, but I did the same with her sister, and her sister can now gracefully win or lose.
Not only does my oldest get annoyed playing with her sister, but many of her classmates in the past along with some of her teachers have rubbed a nerve or two. “Mommy why can’t I say lost? I was playing jax with my friend and I won and told her she lost. Then she went and told on me.” I had to hear what the teacher told her. I already had a feeling deep down inside, but I let her tell me. “My teacher said everyone is a winner and we shouldn’t call people losers. It’s not nice. You’re not nice mommy.” I guess I’m happy she can do the whole deductive reasoning thing, but nah, that teacher didn’t get off that easy.
I paid her a quick “nice” visit. I explained to her, my kids are taught winning and losing. And just because “you lost” isn’t what the other person wants to hear, it doesn’t mean she’s not being nice. Luckily the teacher and I hit it off and she completely understood. The school had adopted some sort of self-esteem thing and blah, blah, blah.
At what point do we introduce the word losing to our children and then exercise the concept? I feel my children will demonstrate a stronger sense of character if they congratulate the winner and walk away a loser. Rather than being the sorry little girl on the playground who LOST jax against my daughter, and then was able to go tattle because she wasn’t raised to handle the truth. That’s right, I called the girl sorry – she hurt my daughter’s feelings. I haven’t learned how to deal with people (big or small) that make my kid cry. Maybe one day, but I’m not there yet.
Back to my point, it’s about building character in my kids. I’m not always going to be able to go talk to the “teacher.” That’s not how life works. They are going to win some days and they are going to LOSE. All through growing up I always heard, “it’s not if you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.” But my father added something for me, that I’ve passed on to my daughters, “It’s not how you play the game, it’s how you win or lose.” He told me this after one of my basketball games in high school, when I was benched the whole time. I can’t even remember if we won or not, but I know I had the stankest attitude. He made me apologize to my team and coach.
Don’t wait for your kids to be out of the house and at the playground losing jax before they encounter the truth. Be the parent, stand against the majority, and call your kid a loser when they lose. Or you are going to force parents like me to lose time at work to go talk to teachers that think your kid is a loser too.