Dude, Your Kid Is Such A Loser…
“What a loser.” Ouch. Don’t those words just cut to the bone? And, if they’re directed at you personally, deep is the bruise buried in your innermost soft parts. Deep enough, in fact, to penetrate throughout your life and into your child’s.
The reason these words wield such power is the fear of failure that is so ingrained in our society. We are a culture enamored with the winner. Thus the dearth of competition-based reality shows that devour countless millions of hours in our country.
But, a hard truth of life is that there are very few #1 spots available. No matter what arena you’re playing in there’s the coveted top positions and then the majority that is destined to maintain a position firmly rooted in “average” no matter how hard they try.
My boys are into BMX racing, a fiercely competitive, high risk sport. No matter how many go into a race they are whittled down to a maximum of eight riders all vying for that #1 position. The older they get the more intense the competition.
So many kids pressing, pushing, as hard as they possibly can and yet they don’t even make it to the finals. Now what?
They get to choose – carry on, keep doing their very best, or quit.
Six years into this sport and we’ve seen so many kinds of riders and families. From kids that fling their helmets and stomp feet when they lose, to parents that spew daggers from their mouths when their kid crosses the finish line in second place.
Life lessons on a dusty track.
Sometimes giving my all doesn’t get me where I want to go. No promotion, no stage call, no job offer, no call back. Now what? Stop trying, settle for less, blame others, get bitter, press on – we get to choose.
What if we look at how our kids approach their activities as forming how they will approach their lives?
The BMX track is like an accelerated how-to-live-life-learning lab.
We’ve endured years of tears as the boys processed the emotion of losing many, many, races.
After missing the opportunity to race in the finals at a national event the other day one of our boys quietly said, “I’m not fast enough now to qualify for the mains but if I keep working at it, I will be.” Yes, son, yes. You keep on working at it, diligently. I am so very proud of you; in your losing you are truly winning.
It’s so easy to praise the superstar kids with flashing trophies. But, my heart overflows with gratitude and respect for the kids on the track that give it their all, time and time again, without coming close to earning hardware of their own. Good sports they are and what a blessing.
Does your kid win all the time? I hope you’re teaching them how to do so gracefully. Winners know what it feels like to lose so how about high-fives all around to their race-mates?
Does your kid lose all the time? No shame – Parent-Friend. Bury the stigma of “losing” where it belongs along with any residual pain that you’ve suffered from the ignorance of others and celebrate the fact that your kid is learning major life lessons that will serve them well.
Did someone call you a loser? I’m sorry for the wound you received. You will know the truth and it will set you free. The truth is that every single one of us has “lost” and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. All winners have first lost, repeatedly. Losing makes us stronger and smarter. It’s by losing that we refine ourselves.
And really, if you think about it…what kind of person, child or adult, would call a someone else a loser?