Friday, July 10, 2009

Nobody likes a sore loser...

I do not have a competitive bone in my body, or at least that is what I tell myself. Long ago, I realized that when it came to anything athletic or sports related I was at the bottom of the line up. After being the last one picked for everything from "Red Rover" to "P.E. softball, well you learn to have some backbone. My strategy in not getting upset was to embrace my shortcomings, laugh at them and have hand written notes from mom to get out of P.E. as much as possible. Yep! You know the type...I was one of those girls.

Truth is over the years, my friends would tell you that I made an excellent cheerleader. From soccer games to choir concerts to stage productions, I've pretty much been the faithful encourager and cheerleader. I don't say this in a bragging way, for deep inside there has always been a part of me that longed to win a game or be good at something that causes one to sweat. But I learned very young that I hated for anyone to be upset or "mad" at me. It was easier to lose and let others win, then to deal with sulking, crying and bad tempers when it comes to a little competition. Whether playing a board game or a sport, to me the game wasn't worth winning if the people I liked/loved were unhappy. Yes, that's me a total "people pleaser."

Move into motherhood and it gets even worse. I remember my hubby telling me when my kids were small, not to let them win, when we played games together, for they eventually needed to learn how to deal with losing. Too true. I'm realizing that not everyone was created like me. Not everyone was gifted with the ability to smile when losing (even when you want to beat the pants off everyone deep down!!!).

When I first met my husband he will tell you that he was over competitive and had a temper with it. When he became a youth minister, he learned real quick that he had to be the adult in every situation and be happy for others when they beat you in say ping pong... No, he has come a long way in the twenty years that I've known him. He still doesn't like to lose, but then really who does? I tell him he is growing up every time we play cards or a game and he has the losing score.

Where am i going with this? Two words: MY SON.

Bless his young heart. He can not stand to lose. He starts to realize he is on the losing end of things and he starts pouting, then he gets all snappy, then he starts banging things around, then the tears come...and pretty soon he is acting like this:

I often call him on it and ask him if his "green" is showing.

The sad thing is, he is one of the sweetest boys. Big heart, full of energy, still likes to hug on the people he loves. Yet there is a stubborn and competitive side to him that comes out, where it comes down to his way and winning or the "Hulk man" comes calling.

I blame it on his dad and his own childhood. Because after all, I was always an angel, right? (I can see my sister coming up with a comment for that statement!) Truthfully, he does take after his dad... outgoing, verbal, wants to be smack dab in the middle of anything going on, athletic, very competitive... great attributes. But how do you do get the little boy to realize one of his biggest weaknesses? How do you drill it into him that if he loses at a ballgame, a board game or PlayStation, that it is alright and not the end of the world? How do you teach the "Hulk" that everyone needs a chance to win and not just you? How do you teach him how to be happy for others, when you are not?

A mother's dilemma for sure. Last night we went over to his grandparent's house for a game of dominoes. (He and his Grandma love to play!) Only he wasn't enjoying it too much last night, for he was losing. Now mind you, he didn't have the bottom score, he was just somewhere in the middle, but he couldn't handle it. He started with a little pouting and ended up in a fine temper... over a game of dominoes!!!

I know part of it all is his age, for I have been to plenty of baseball and soccer games, and have seen all the little boys doing everything from crying to mouthing off after a losing score. But I pray everyday he gets a handle on his little "green temper" because like I've said, I've been to plenty of sporting events, and I really don't want him to end up like a few "angry" coaches and dads either! :)

Do I care in the end if I win or lose. Yes, I do. Do I think it is the end of the world if the winning score is not mine? No. I can appreciate all the time and effort put into sports, so I know why it is frustrating not to win. Yet, as I always told Jordan, remember you have friends on all the other teams, that have worked just as hard and they have feelings too... Same thing goes when you play a simple game of cards or Guitar Hero. There can only be one winner. AND NOBODY LIKES A SORE LOSER!!!

HE has some hard knocks ahead of him for sure. This crazy world we live in is filled with joyful highs and losing battles. (Oh boy, do I know this!) My goal is that God, with the help of mom here, can teach this sweet little guy how do deal with the struggles that most surely lie ahead. That when he looks "defeat" in the eye, he can find God's strength to get though that moment. For that is really all they are..."little moments." Have you ever looked back at childhood memories and wondered why you thought it was "the end of the world?" Yet here you are 30 years later and wish those childhood problems were all you had to deal with?

Yep! God teaches us everyday how not to be a sore loser. We will not always get our way, see eye to eye or win the game, but we can always find "His joy" in the moment. We just have to look for it.


Lauren said...

good post ... very thought provoking!

Heart2Heart said...

I love this because there is no easy answer or solution to the problem. Time will unfortunately teach him all he will need.

I wish there was a sure fire quick way to handle that. My 10 year old daughter is very similar. She won't even participate in any sport where competition lies because she doesn't want to lose.

Perhaps you can just find the joy in becoming a great loser and show him how to handle those disappointments.

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Jim said...

I feel with you and JOR. Not an easy lesson to learn when the lesson ends with how to face a score that is less than what you want.

I am reminded of the time that Jesus spoke about one who came to the wedding supper expecting the best seat to be his, only to be asked to move down for someone else to take that place of honor. The lesson, how much better to come in and take the lower seat, and then at the desire of the host of the dinner, to be asked to take a higher one. The question could be asked, "was it better to be able to move up, or be asked to move down?" Taking the former attitude of grace can sometimes give greater benefit and blessing.

That's the grace I see in you, daughter, and that which I pray will somehow be realized by your "coming of age" competitive offspring.

Love you,

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Hang in there mom; I've been one for nearly half of my life. I have 4 kids (20, 18, 8, 6). How well I remember the tantrums of my oldest son. The other two have fared better, but the oldest was nearly my undoing.

He's getting ready to start his junior year in college and just returned from a mission trip to Bolivia. For as many headaches as he gave me in those younger years, he's done a complete 180 and is the joy of my heart, along with the other three. Baby girl is the caboose. Not sure what the teen years will hold for her, but I'm a tough cookie at this point.

Kids don't have to grow up and be bad. They can, in fact, grow up to be quite charming and full of Jesus.

Keep to it! And yes, feel free to come by the blog anytime. I love to make to cyber friends.


Stephanie @ My Answered Prayer said...

L is the same way...On the Wii...if I'm in first and he's in's a huge crying fit like someone kicked him in the gut. So frustrating....I feel ya!

Deb said...

First visit to your blog.

Just wanted you to know.

I never got picked for Red Rover either. I think it scarred me for life...just kidding.

It sounds like you're heading in the right direction with your son.


And hang in there.

He & Me + 3 said...

I have one of those kids. She hates to lose and quits instead. which is even worse in my book. But we are really trying to teach them no matter what the need to be content and find joy. Find the good. It is a hard lesson, but one day if we keep pressing on they will get it.

momstheword said...

I too believe that children need to learn how to lose graciously. I had a bil who used to play games with his kids and he would cheat in order to win. After they figured it out, they would't play with him anymore.

We have a friend who won't play most board games as he doesn't like to lose. He knows his limits and knows he gets intense and upset, so he just won't play them.

I love how you're remining his son about his attitude by referring to the color, very clever!

Mocha Momma said...

Tough times for kids and moms. I'm not much help here, but I can pray.

I was the jealous type and could throw a good crying show. I was sent to my room.

I think you're doing a good job with your son. Showing that you care and helping him see what he's doing and how to handle loosing is going to help him a lot.

Going to my room didn't help me. I just had a pitty party.

God is good.
Happy Sunday

Amber said...

Oh, that boy. How I heart him. And oh, how I have a red headed green monster just like him at my house.

Lucky are we.

Love ya.

Pam said...

I have a son that is exactly the same way!
Prayer is the answer. : )

Sharon@JoyInTheTruth said...

Oh this momma's heart is right there with you! So totally understand!

We are alike in many ways...I find each time I read your posts....I am not athletic at all (and really fine with that) but I was and still am the cheerleader (although it takes on a different form as a mom).

Love this heartfelt and honest post! God is molding our children for His purposes and glory!

Gretchen said...

Relating very much in this house, friend. Bless your son and you as you walk through it all.