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.

  1. Very hard working and strong work ethic
  2. Wants to be a lawyer
  3. Co-Captain of her high school law team
  4. 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.

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. You always give 100% of your effort.  The end result doesn’t matter, but the effort and work do
  4. I made it very clear that sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose, and that’s life
  5. Life is not fair
  6. 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.


49 thoughts on “They Were Better

  1. I don’t think kids really value winning unless they occasionally lose, too. Plus, losing helps them develop empathy–they know how the other guy feels when he or she loses. It sounds like you have a daughter who possesses some very elusive–but important–qualities: common sense, good judgment, perspective, and integrity.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I hope you’re right!😀I’ve been trying to instill values in her, but you never know what’s going to stick. You do your best and hope


  2. Have you written a book on parenting yet? Very well adjusted child you have raised. Wish that more were like that. I was just reading another blogger write about a problem at a school sporting event with bad mannered parents and swearing, etc. Such a bad example to the kids.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m waiting till my daughter does something really wrong, then I’ll write what not to do….😀 I’ve thought about writing my very unscientific thoughts, but parenting is a tricky thing

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Good for you. There was a recent story about a group of prisoners beating a debate team from Harvard. I share it with my writing students to understand why they felt the prisoners defeated the students from Harvard. I received some fascinating essays. Your daughter would probably enjoy reading this news…interesting.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. One of my students made an excellent observation in his essay that the students were more focused because of fewer resources thus their immediate was stronger. This observation was made by a student from India whose first language is not English. I actually thought it led me easily into my discussion today of giving 100 % to projects. As my husband observed, and asked a very relevant question, I realized that sometimes I obsess over the wrong things. For every 100 students who like me as an instructor, there is always a few who complain about the course, or in this case, it was my voice, my PowerPoints with music!!, and the length of the course. I was viscerally upset that one of the Sheriffs complained. I believe it was the youngest one in his 20’s who would leave his radio on during class. My husband said, if you didn’t have a few students who didn’t like the course, I would be suspicious…are you giving them all A’s; the University likes you and gives you great reviews; in the course of our life, will it affect it? No, focus, focus, focus…thanks for listening.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Learning to lose is important. There is a school of thought in Australia at the moment that by giving every child a Participation Certificate they do not know how to lose – everyone receives a reward of sorts regardless of their efforts. All these Participation Certificates are creating a lot of headaches in lounge rooms across Australia.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Love this: “sometimes in life you can do all the right things and still lose.” If we could all understand this, then we might be a little happier…or a little sadder? I don’t know, but I do think it’s a great way to think of some experiences.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s hard not to pass on being ultra competitive to kids. And honestly, I think most parents in the audience or stands care more about the outcome of games or competitions than the kids. Your daughter has a great head on her shoulders. I hope she is a mentor too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. She is super competitive, but she’s somewhat logical about it. But I think that’s only because she’s gone for things and lost throughout the course of her childhood

      Liked by 1 person

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