A to Z Challenge: D is for Disappointment at the Derby
“You can’t win at everything.” “You win some, you lose some.” “You can’t be a sore-loser.” Chances are if you’re a parent or a coach, you’ve said one or more of these phrases a few times.
Teaching kids that sometimes they lose is hard.
Losing isn’t fun.
No body wants to lose.
No body wants to come in 2nd place, or 3rd or last.
But it is a part of life. At some point you will lose. At some point you will not be the best at something.
It’s harsh and sucks.
And not to sound too harsh, but I think as parents we need to make sure they understand that you can’t win every time, that you aren’t going to get a trophy every time, that sometimes you will lose…and while it’s not fun, it does happen.
With all of that said…I learned that I have not done a good job preparing my kids that there will be times they don’t win, times they won’t be in first place, and times that they will want to quit…but they will have to hold their head up high and keep trying and learn to lose with grace.
Last month was the annual Awanas Pinewood Derby race! The boys were so excited to race their cars. Tristan and Dylan had raced for Boy Scouts a couple years ago, but this was Jackson’s first time. Jim and I stepped back as much as we could, and really let the boys make their cars. We did buy the already formed trucks, but they still had to sand, paint, design, add wheels and weights-all while making sure they were within the guidelines (height, width and weight). These derbies are serious business.
I loved hearing the boys talk about what they wanted. Each car really does represent each of my boys well. Jackson is my little animal lover…and wanted to make his truck a “crocodile”. Dylan was practically born with a patriotic heart and didn’t hesitate to deck his truck out in red, white and blue. Tristan also went patriotic this time around with his camouflage truck complete with army men guards. He’s always had a fascination with the Military, and was too young when Jim got out that he doesn’t remember living it. I loved seeing the look of pride and accomplishment on their faces.
What I didn’t love seeing was their sad, disappointed faces when their trucks repeatedly came in 5-6th (out of 6) in each of their heats. What I didn’t love was the look of frustration and heartache when Tristan’s army truck had to be pushed across the finish line. What I didn’t love was the other kids giving him a hard time.
But I was so proud of the way Tristan handled it. He didn’t lash out, he didn’t get angry. He really didn’t say much at all. I could see in his face how bummed he was, how sad he was and how hurt he was, but rather than getting angry, making excuses or quitting he just took it. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t have handled it that well.
Even though they made have had some of the slowest cars out their, Jackson and Tristan left with 2nd and 3rd place for design in their age group! It certainly helped turn their day around.
Dylan didn’t walk away empty handed, he won a raffle prize. He didn’t want to keep the stuffed tiger, so instead when we was up on stage he handed it to his little brother.
So even though I remind them that they will not get a trophy, prize or ribbon every time…it looks as though they will learn that lesson another time. The Awanas derby had other plans.
How have you taught your children to handle losing? Is it working?