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.
- Very hard working and strong work ethic
- Wants to be a lawyer
- Co-Captain of her high school law team
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- You always give 100% of your effort. The end result doesn’t matter, but the effort and work do
- I made it very clear that sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose, and that’s life
- Life is not fair
- 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.