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.