I was competitive, I am competitive, so is my husband (even more than me – I have to admit) and so I have had to find some balance when cheering my kids on from the sidelines. It’s exciting to me that they are learning new things and learning from someone else. But it’s tough not to get in there and encourage them too enthusiastically!
It has been an experience watching as a parent, to push the right amount for my children to do their best. I have thought long and hard about the message I want my children to hear from me as they learn new things and decide where their passion lies.
I know for sure that I am not a believer in the “we are all winners” message. To each their own and kudos to you if you employ this point of view in your own parenting – my readers know I have always been a believer that parents should do what works for them when raising their little humans and that we don’t have to see eye to eye on every matter, so this isn’t meant as judgment, only my opinion, which of course is allowed here!
Personally, I believe that the “we are all winners” message instills a false sense of success early in life and creates feelings of entitlement. This not only creates difficulties in the now but also for later years; when that same child who never learned to lose is trying to land that dream job and they aren’t chosen for the position, they will be devastated, they wont know how to cope with this loss because they never had to learn the skill by losing the basketball game in junior high.
I grew up knowing that if I didn’t put the work in I wouldn’t get the result I wanted. And I wanted to win. I wouldn’t be standing on the podium receiving a medal if I didn’t work my butt off prior to the competition; it was as simple as that. So later in life when I didn’t work hard on that paper in my first college class and choose instead to party with my new friends, it reflected in the form of grades, I was disappointed yes; but I was disappointed in my self not the institution for not “handing me a better grade” and choose (eventually – lets be real how many of us really learned after the first bad grade!) to work harder and do better.
So I have chose a message for my children, which puts them in charge of the outcome, and how they view accountability of that outcome. One that puts the responsibility on them to do the best they can.
You don’t have to be the best, but you do have to try.
I feel like the message of try is greater than the message of win. We are human and we innately want to win its built into us, we don’t all want to win the same thing, but we all have something we want in life and a drive to get there. It is important to me that if my children set out to do something, they try.
I will be proud and I will encourage my children to be proud of themselves if they have tried their best and worked their hardest regardless of the outcome. They might not stand on the top of every podium, come home with top marks in every class, or land every job they apply for because none of that is realistic. There are always brick walls. Randy Pausch said it best.
Try is a realistic message to teach my children, motivation to work hard, and try hard, to learn and grow, and to be proud of the accomplishments and goals they have achieved, because it wont be handed to them, they will earn what they desire only with perseverance, dedication, and motivation. That is the message I want to teach my children, they can truly be anything they want in life as long as they have try.