Saturday, April 13, 2013

L is for Lose

There is a trend today to teach children that everyone is a winner. I'm a big fan of teaching children to love everyone, have a good time and relax while playing sports (parents need to learn this too)  But I don't think we should have every game be a no-score, everyone wins situation.  We will all lose at some point in our life.  There will be people better than us.  We might try our best and still not get the best grade, the promotion, or the book deal. Whether the other person is really better or if there were judgement calls that swung the tide in their direction there are times we lose.  We need to teach our children that, and we better hope our parents taught us that.  Publishing is hard.  If we can't take the rejections then we'll never get published because we'll stop trying.  So, in as nice a way as possible, teach your children to lose.  And get ready to lose yourself.  Hey, it will be good for you. 

34 comments:

  1. Losing is one of the most valuable means of building character there is. And when we become better people for having lost, we still win.

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  2. Totally agree. Losing is part of life and we need to learn to deal with it in a positive and rational way.

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  3. I agree. Our soccer league decided at the end of the year to give all the kids a medal, even though we held a tournament a decided true champions. I understand the sentiment, but don't agree with the philosophy! :)

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    1. When the kids are really young I like that they teach them to enjoy the game and not concentrate on winning, but there needs to be a balance.

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  4. I wrote an article for Athletic Directors and Coaching magazine recently and spoke with the past president of the Sports Psychology Association for this article. Interestingly, she talked about the developmental stages and changes kids go through in regards to winning/losing and competition. At younger ages, the emphasis is more on skills development and winning/losing isn't a very concrete or constructive concept. But as they age, sports and competitions do become more focused on the outcome and kids begin to learn the skills of gracious losing and competition. I found writing that article to be very helpful to me, as a parent of kids in competitions!

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    1. Sounds like a great article. I like how you said losing graciously. That's the key. I think the reason there has been such an emphasis on everybody being a winner because so many kids weren't taught to lose graciously and it's caused problems. But who knows, my kids aren't into sports yet so this is all theoretical. :)

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  5. So true. I think that little kids need some toughening up through the art of losing. It isn't a bad thing. And writers MUST be tough otherwise the onslaught of rejection WIL deminish you. Take it from me, it will! I just keep going, though. Just keep writing. Just keep writing. :)

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    1. Ha! I love Dori. Life is hard. You might not get the university you want, or the job you want, or the promotion you want. Unless we've been taught that losing is just a step on the way to success it is too easy to just give up.

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  6. As a professor, I see the consequences of this 'everyone's a winner' attitude all the time. So many students think they should get an A simply because they came to class. It's a rude awakening for them when they realize actual work is involved!

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    1. I saw a article not to long ago about a student who was suing her university for giving her a C and thereby ruining her future career. This university had given her all sorts of perks because her father worked there. Tuition discounts, jobs, etc and she didn't believe that she should be responsible for her own work.

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  7. I couldn't agree more! To this day, I still remember the lesson I learned when I was little and got so upset when I didn't get a prize at a birthday party.

    I think it's a very valuable lesson to learn and builds character as well as preparing children for 'the real world'.

    Great post!

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    1. Thanks. When the kids are still young we do need to foster their self esteem and teach them to enjoy the game but it's a lesson we all need to learn.

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  8. Good point. I think it's a case of being cruel to be kind. Wrapping kids up in cotton wool isn't preparing them for the real world. Losing is how you learn - you might still lose the next time, but lose better!

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  9. Good advice, especially as we apply it to writing. EVERY writer gets stacks more rejections than acceptances. Pam at 2 Encourage

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  10. It's important to learn how to lose graciously, and they don't seem to teach that these days.

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  11. I agree. Not only do we need to be able to face losing (or rejection), we also need to know that good things in life take hard work and dedication. When a child is used to "winning" no matter what I think they get used to being good enough without trying. That does nothing but hurt them in the long run.Simply Sarah

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    1. Excellent point. If they're not used to working for things they won't know how to when the going gets tough.

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  12. Teaching your children how to lose well and celebrate partial wins is an abject life lesson. Even as a writer we face rejections and persevere because it is what we have learned in our childhood...to keep trying.

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    1. We need to celebrate all the steps and look how far we've come, not just at the fact that we didn't reach our goal or didn't win.

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  13. I read somewhere that it's supposed to be better for a child when parents acknowledge their effort for doing something rather than to compliment them on the end result.

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    1. Love that! We try to do that with our kids, celebrating the effort not the result. That way they know that even if things don't turn out they have value and we can always try again next time.

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  14. I think it's important that kids grow up with at least a little humility, knowing that it's okay to lose as long as you pick yourself up & keep on trying afterward. Winning is not everything but the attempt, and resilience in the face of disappointment, is what matters.

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    1. Resilience, pick yourself up and keep trying. That's what life's about. So true.

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  15. I couldn't agree with you more! I write on a version of this tomorrow. By the by - I gave you an award over on my site. No pressure - I know, I know - I don't even know you! But I looked around on the A to Z site and liked the way your blog reads. Jan Morrison www.labanan.blogspot.com

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    1. Hey, thanks for the award and for coming over! And that's what blogging and blog hops are for, getting to know each other!

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  16. Ha, ha I just came by to nominate you for a Liebster Award. You don't have to participate. I see I am not the only one that likes your blog enough to nominate it for a award!

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  17. I totally agree with you. My son's field day is coming up and your post reminded me of it. They no longer have any "real" competition, during field day. All students get ribbons for basically showing up. The individual classes race and compete against other classes, but individuals do not compete against each other. Their reasoning is similar to what you have written about. I disagree with this approach. Healthy competition is good for our kids. I believe they need to learn, that in real life, we have to compete. No one gets a promotion just because they showed up for work, each day. I sucked at field day and I seldom won, but it did not damage me. Life is one big competition and we have to learn at an early age to excel at what we do best and to put forth our best effort if we hope to succeed.

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  18. Profound and succinct thoughts on losing. I agree with what you say. I also think the fact that you don't win this time out or the next time shows who you are by your reaction to the rejection. It tests your mettle. Will you be squashed by losing? Or will soar in spite of?

    Love what you're doing with the A to Z. If you have time visit me at http://elizabethwatgibson.wordpress.com

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  19. I agree! And not everyone can win at everything - not only that, sometimes it's not even 'losing' but steps along the way to something great!

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