My daughter is 4 years old, and has recently become obsessed with all things winning. Everything is a competition — first to walk in the door, first to use the bathroom, fastest person to clean up the toys, winning Shoots and Ladders, Candyland or her new favorite, Twister.
I love her strong willed personality, her constant striving to be the best. I want to encourage her to never give up.
But do I let her win everything? Hell no. Do I care that she’s throwing herself on the kitchen floor screaming because I walked in the door first? No. Ain’t nobody got time for that nonsense.
In a society where everyone wants to be equal, everyone wants to be the best and everyone is taught that just by participating they’re “all winners.”, I call bullshit.
Someone has to lose.
I want to teach my children from the start that you aren’t going to win everything, that you aren’t always going to be the best at everything. That’s life. Don’t let the fear of losing hold you back, and use those loses to make yourself better.
Instilling these traits from the beginning will teach our children that life isn’t always fair and we aren’t always just handed what we want. You aren’t always going to be the MVP. You won’t win first place at your dance competition every time. You aren’t guaranteed first chair clarinet in the band. But if you put in the work, the effort and the time, you’re more likely to achieve those aspirations and feel more proud of yourself and your efforts. And if you don’t win this time, that’s okay. Learn from it and try again. Our failures don’t define us.
The real world doesn’t care if you’re sad you lost the promotion to a coworker, or you drive a crappier car than your neighbor. So why is there this ‘we’re all winners’ mentally with our children?
Look. I want my children to do their best at everything they set their minds to, but I don’t expect them to be the best at it all. And I don’t want them to feel pressure to be the best at everything they do, either. Doesnt calling them all winners from early on kind of set them up for these unrealistic expectations of themselves?
It’s all about balance; balance between acknowledging hard work but also remaining realistic.
The next time you’re doing something as simple as putting away dishes, and your child races around trying to put away the silverware faster than you, I implore you to use it as a learning experience. A simple life lesson.
Someone’s gotta lose. And that’s okay! Now if you need me, I’ll be in the kitchen with a screaming, pissed off toddler because I stirred the pancake batter faster than her. 😏