We just got back from my 9 year olds second to last football game. It has been a brutal season. They have won 1 game all season. Their first win was last week and we were so happy they finally won. It started to get tough for the boys to keep their heads up.
Fast -forward to today and they just didn’t have a good game. I found myself sitting in the stands getting frustrated by the dropped passes, dropped hand-offs, fumbles and missed tackles. Then I got my head on straight and realized:
1. They are 9 years old
2. They are allowed to have a bad game
Now, I am the first person to point out the crazy parents that are screaming and yelling at their kid the entire game. I don’t scream and yell, but I do cheer and the fact that I was getting frustrated today surprised me. Part of it was that I felt bad for the kids. Another win would have been great for them. It’s hard to lose every week. But when I shifted my perspective, I realized, losing can be just as important as winning. Learning to lose is a significant life lesson. Because sometimes life doesn’t go as planned. And sometimes life is hard.
The benefits of being on a team far outweigh the winning factor. Being a team member teaches the boys about working together, counting on each other and helping each other. Winning is irrelevant. I read a quote recently that said, “If you find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere interesting”.
So I think we, as parents, need to shift our perspective when it comes to the organized activities and sports that our kids participate in. The winning can’t be so important to us. Our kids know when this is the case. And there is nothing positive that comes out of this parent/child dynamic. Over the years, our non-verbal communication, body language, and our reactions to winning and losing, sends a message. This message is that our love has conditions, and they begin to internalize this. This can be a dangerous phenomenon as it can lead to not feeling good enough or worthy unless they are good at or winning at something. In the end, don’t we want our kids believing that they are enough just as they are as long as they are trying? The winning is just an added bonus.
Does your perspective need shifting?