They Were Better

I’ve talked about my daughter before, but I’m going to give you a few relevant facts so that everyone is up to speed.

  1. Very hard working and strong work ethic
  2. Wants to be a lawyer
  3. Co-Captain of her high school law team
  4. Very competetive

In the winter/spring, the law team competes in mock trial.  The teams are assigned a case, and the students research the case and act as lawyers and witnesses and compete against other teams.  There is a great deal of work involved in being on a team such as this: she probably puts in a minimum of 20 hours a week when they are prepping. (on top of the other responsibilities she has) So this is a fairly large commitment.

So, a few weeks ago they competed.  And while their defense team won, their prosecution lost.  I knew how much she wanted to win, so I told her that I was sorry that they lost.  And her response was simple:  “It’s Ok.  They were just better than us.”

She didn’t blame her teammates.  She didn’t say the judge was biased.  She didn’t complain about their mentor law firm (who really did let the team down- but that’s a whole other story) She just said that the other team was better.  She said that her team was well prepared, that everyone really performed above expectations, that they gave it their all.  They just weren’t good enough.  She said it didn’t reflect badly on her teammates because they left nothing on the table, but sometimes in life you can do all the right things and still lose.

Now, I’m going to go with nurture again, because I’ll take all the credit because I’m ultra competitive.  So seriously, I don’t take losing lightly- how did I end up with a child so mature about losing?

Here’s the thing:  I have some rules in the house.

  1. If she wanted to join something or take lessons, she must finish out stated commitment- go to all lessons, go to all games and practices
  2. These commitments come first- she wasn’t allowed to not go to something, especially in a team situation, because I stressed that it is a team, and teammates show up
  3. You always give 100% of your effort.  The end result doesn’t matter, but the effort and work do
  4. I made it very clear that sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose, and that’s life
  5. Life is not fair
  6. You can’t win something if you don’t try it (this isn’t really a rule, more of a saying, but I preached it a lot, so I’m including it)

My daughter has a room full of trophies and plaques and certificates.  She has had her fair share of wins.  But she has also had losses.  She has been losing things since she was young.  But I have shown her that if you lose, you get to be sad, or mad or whatever emotion you want.  But then you pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get on with it.  Because sulking is not a lifestyle choice that winners have.  Winners keep going- even when they lose.  Winners are always in the game.

So what’s the lesson?  I’m the greatest parent in the world?  Not even close.  But you need to think about the lessons you’re teaching your kids.  Someday they are going to make all their own decisions: they need to be prepared for that.  Make sure you’re stressing the important things.

 

Advertisements

In it to Win it

Name an 11  letter word that would be used to describe my family?

You have 30 seconds.  Cue the Jeopardy music-

The answer is:

COMPETETIVE

We played mini golf on vacation.  When we approached the entrance and picked out our clubs, the attendant asked if we wanted a score card.  We responded “yes please”, but  we looked at each other and telepathically communicated – Duh- who  plays mini golf and doesn’t  keep score?  Where’s the fun in that? Don’t they care who wins?  Now- for the record- no one in my family is a candidate for the mini-PGA.  I can get a hole in one  and follow it up with a 5.  But we have fun and we try to play on every vacation.  (FYI-the Husband won both mini golf games we played- he would want the blogverse to know that).

We’re a competitive family.  We like to play games with each other.  When the daughter was younger we would have weekly family game nights, and while we still have them- they are now on a monthly basis.  They’re more like death matches tournaments- we play 5 different games, and the winner gets to choose our next dining excursion.

If we’re at a fast casual restaurant, we will take bets on what time our food will be out.  If we’re walking somewhere, we will each take a different route to see who gets there first. We will scout out a Cracker Barrel just so we can play the peg IQ game they leave on the tables. We just can’t help ourselves.

But…… we are not cutthroat.  We don’t cheat.  We don’t throw tantrums if we lose.  We try not to go back to the rule book/instruction guide if we have a disagreement.  (That part doesn’t always work so well- playing mini golf daughter actually told me I brought my ball out too far when it was flush against the edge….and she made me redo the shot.  There was honor at stake……)

Then there’s resilience.  What better way to learn about resilience than to keep playing games.  Husband is a great Words with Friends player.  I am not.  (FYI- this kills me- he is an accountant with a vocabulary of about 12 words.  I pride myself on being a wordsmith, with at least 20 words in my arsenal.)  I could beat him on a vocab quiz any day of the week- but I rarely beat him at word games.  My guess is, he wins 3/4 of our games. ( Ok- who are we kidding.  He beats me 73% of the time.  Did you really think I didn’t know the exact statistic?)  Yet, I continue to play him.  And I will continue to play him.  I can be down by about 150 points, and I will not resign a game.  Because sometimes I do win, and  I’m only going to get better if I keep playing.  There’s no secret formula- it’s just play and learn.  That’s all.  Play and learn.

I realize that some people don’t like to keep score.  I realize that there are situations where everyone gets a trophy.  But I don’t know how good this is.  I don’t think it’s realistic.  Like it or not- there are times when you win, and times when you lose.  You have to learn to do both, with grace and with honor.  Maybe you don’t have to be like my family (I actually highly advise not being like my family, cause, well- you read my blog- isn’t that enough of a reason not to be like my family?) but competition can be good.  And sometimes, it can even make a family closer……