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Tell Your Children It Is Okay To Lose Too

How would you make your child understand that it is ok if you do not win? The author feels that each child is unique and we should tell our children that more than winning learning is important.

How would you make your child understand that it is ok if you do not win? The author feels that each child is unique and we should tell our children that more than winning learning is important.

Supporting his chin on the chair in front of him, eyes and ears focused on the stage, where his dear teachers were giving out the awards, my little boy was very alert. He did not want to miss that moment when his name would be called out.

As the award ceremony came to an end, my 4.5 year old son shouted out from where we were sitting, in a cute yet mature way, ”Teacher ma’am, you have forgotten me or what? Where is my award?“ A questioning movement of his head and his little hands joined in support.

I heard that and my heart started to sink!

It is a very familiar feeling. A feeling of not having made it to somewhere, while others have made it. A feeling of disappointment of some sort.

I cannot let these things impact my son, I think to myself. This is life after all. Success and failures, hits and misses, happiness and sorrow, all part of the same package. We often end up focusing on winning or achieving something that was not even meant for us, and in the process forget all that we are truly made for, our real talent. We weigh our worth through other’s lenses .

This small kid , my son , standing a few seats away from me was just going to start looking at himself through a stereotyped lens. I could see that spark and glow in his eyes slowly disappear. His annual day function perhaps seemed a blur to him. I was worried!

Quickly gathering myself up and brushing aside all the thoughts that were filling up my brains for later detailed analysis , I hastily pull my son close. I had to explain and help him deal with this situation. I wanted to attempt at changing that lens, and replacing it with a different one, hoping that perhaps it will help retain all his confidence and enthusiasm. As I pull him close, I see a teary pair of eyes looking up at me. I hear a quivering voice, which is almost on the verge of breaking out into loud wails. My son asks me, “Mumma why did they not call me and give me an award?”

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Such situations can seem very confusing for a kid because kids are generally bubbling with confidence or maybe borderline overconfidence, if I may honestly admit.

So my philosophy of life and it’s ways were of course not going to work on him. What do I tell him ? A small negative experience in a child’s life, can have a huge impact, at least that’s what I have heard.

My mind was desperately looking through all stacked up details to come up with something smart . I start my attempt. I try telling him that these awards were no big deal and that the categories where he would have won were not even there. I try telling him that his mumma was so proud seeing him on stage. I try telling him how talented he is in so many other things. I try a lot of this and that ! I try to bring him to smile. I desperately try to make him realize that participation is more important than winning.

But, what was I even thinking ? A kid is a kid. All he knows is that his teachers did not call out his name !

All these trials and attempts to make him understand and then rolls off his mouth the most dreaded question, “But mumma was I not good ?”

Difficult situation!  I was totally not prepared, but that’s what parenting is all about !

Dwelling deeper into this conversation was not helping. So, I decide to divert his attention. I might not have succeeded in making him understand anything at that very moment , but I definitely did not want him to leave the auditorium without a good memory of this event .

Some minutes later , a cut out of a letter “D”, which he quietly and naughtily snapped out of its neat fixture from near the stage , after some plotting, is what finally ended the problem and all the tagged emotions. To my little boy, the cut out which he proudly held in his hand, was way more exciting than the award.

How did I fare as a parent ? Well , I don’t know! While I managed that situation, I know there are going to be many such situations. Like any other parent , I will strive to do what I think is best for him .

I am no expert at parenting , neither am I an education specialist, to comment on the best way of parenting or imparting education. However, this experience makes me wish for an education system that rewards and recognizes kids for that unique strength or talent that they possess, instead of bucketing then into pre-decided award categories .

After all every kid is different and so are their strengths and talents. Bucketing them and categorizing them, are we not limiting their vision and thinking to only within specific boxes? Or maybe I just got a little too carried away with my son’s emotions.

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