Hayden had a wonderful first season of soccer. He is incredibly agile for his age and has a passion for winning. The latter, we need to work on a bit as his winning spirit occasionally leads to a tantrum if he actually isn’t winning. I usually can see it coming as a seemingly innocent question precedes the change in mood. Am I winning, mommy? Ah….deep breath.
Even with a gentle touch, “You are very close but, your brother is slightly ahead at the moment,” the monster seed is sprouting. “No, I AM winning, mommy”. Huh, change the course and lie or do the right thing? How tired am I today?
Of course by my third child I know, avoiding the lesson lead to prolonging the stage – more whining, more tantrums and inability to navigate in the real world. Lately we have closed down a few games mid-stream proclaiming it simply not fun to play a game with someone who is crying.
I sympathize. No one likes to lose. I certainly don’t like to lose. And in the US, we are raised from birth to value independence and the concept that hard work leads to success. Lately I have noticed a very important nuance has been lost. We don’t all get to win every time. Hard work doesn’t immediately lead to success every time but, it certainly leads to more success over time though. It’s a fine distinction for a 4 year old but, one that it is better to learn early.
The flipside to this phase in his life is the shear elation he expresses when he does win. Recently we were playing a family game for ages 6 and up. Amazingly my little loving four year old WAS winning – and winning by a large margin. “Am I owning you? I am owning you mommy.” I can only assume his brothers taught him that phrase but, it made me laugh out load. That night, he WAS OWNING us! I chose to save the ‘graceful winner’ lesson for another time and let him revel in his glory within the security of our own home.
And, as a side note, there are days that I envy my 4 year old. I would love to kick, scream or quit on days when I don’t win. Ah, to be four again…