I will NEVER let my son win…unless he wins

Saturday was one of those days that you could never plan. It was one of those days that just happened and it was perfect! J woke up with the kids so I could get more rest since I rarely sleep through the night without 3 trips to the bathroom and at least a couple muscle spasms in my legs. 8:00 am never felt so good. We threw together some breakfast and began to plan the day. With the weather being unusually warm for this time of year, we decided to take advantage and get out of the house for a bit. J suggested we go to a nearby nature center and see some of the reptiles and amphibians they had on display. It was free and closeby which is a win-win when you are trying to save for another baby!

We walked in and there was only one other family there. We were able to take our time looking at each aquarium with box turtles, salamanders, frogs, snakes and other animals that my boys were ecstatic to see. Come to find out, they were having a winter family day where we would be able to roast marshmallows by the outdoor fire, drink hot cocoa, make crafts, learn about the animals and try on snow shoes. We enjoyed ourselves so much, we plan on returning next weekend to explore their nature paths.

After coming home, we ate lunch, picked up the house. They boys were actually getting along for the most part and put away their toys without too much begging from us.

Everything today was done without the tv blaring, without any screen, without tablets and video games and it was wonderful. We try to have more time without screens and technology so our kids don’t grow up feeling they need to depend on it.

J has a chess set that the boys are always wanting to play with. It is a shallow box that has dominoes, checkers, cribbage and backgammon. They boys are fascinated with these games even if they just want to build a house with the dominoes. We all just enjoy spending time together. J has been slowly teaching L how to play chess. He is starting to pick up on which piece moves in which direction. After they had been playing for about a half hour, I hear J explain that he was teaching L a new word in chess today. I knew where he was going with this conversation and I was bracing myself for what was coming next. The word that J was teaching him was “checkmate.”

Once J explained what that meant, L started to cry. He was upset because he lost. He was upset because his dad didn’t LET him win. This has been something that we have discussed in depth many times. In a world where everyone wins a trophy for participating, we feel it is necessary to show our children that they will not always be number one. They will not always win.

As parents, we are advocates for our children. We are the people they learn from first. I don’t want them to think they will always get a trophy or ribbon for participating. They need to understand the feeling of losing. They need to understand the feeling when they are defeated. This will help them to be a gracious winner when they do win. I would rather have a child that is a good and humble winner than a sore loser.

Don’t get me wrong. J and I were both heartbroken to watch our sweet boy shed tears due to our decision but that is the hard part about being a parent. We want our boys to develop a healthy amount of self-esteem yet self-esteem isn’t derived from winning, it is derived from learning. This leads to hope and belief in one’s self. This is why J taught him “checkmate.” After a few minutes where L was upset and didn’t understand, J went on to explain the importance of practicing and that one day, he would win all on his own. In this moment, it seemed that a lightbulb turned on and L understood. He immediately stopped crying and asked to play again.

What are your thoughts on this? Feel free to email me at coffeekidsandyogpants@gmail.com

Today is another snow storm here in Michigan so feel free to drop a line as I am leaving this house as little as possible!

Have a great day,

-Meghan