A couple of days ago, we saw the award-winning mainstream journalist Anderson cooper morph into any other voter in America who is frustrated from the four years of the Trump shenanigans and say this straight to the camera,
“That is the president of the United States. That is the most powerful person in the world, and we see him like an obese turtle on his back flailing in the hot sun.”
It’s been almost a week since the US elections were declared and the current president (POUTUS, if you may) is yet to concede the election, like a petulant child who refuses to give back the toy. In fact, he has employed an entire army of yes-men who want to play along with this charade because as one the GOP official stated,
‘What’s the downside for humouring him?’
A telling tale of this presidency and a generation of Parenting too!
We have spent hours and days and years teaching our kids how to succeed- done away with test scores for early schooling, giving awards to everyone participating, and constantly telling them success is the only way to go.
But what’s forgotten in this style of new-age parenting is the art of losing with grace.
Modern parenting is dictated by fear. Risks seem to be lurking around every corner – antibiotic-resistant germs, bullying kids, unfair teachers, lurking paedophiles – so when we tuck our kids into bed at night, free of cuts, bruises or emotional hurt, we have, for one more day, found tangible evidence of our parenting success.
Parenting is the most important leadership role you will hold. The strategies you use to bring this generation will be telling of the future.
As a person who has seen enough success and failures in life, I can now truly be thankful for each one of those failures. While success gave me confidence and made me poised for growth, my failures taught me resilience, patience, courage, strength, and wisdom, much more than any of my successes did. If you thought that people who are constantly succeeding think differently, you can turn to one of the world’s greatest athlete who spent years preaching the importance of losing. Jordan has spoken extensively about how perseverance and resilience in the face of challenges on and off the court are what have made him a winner. Unfortunately, as the world puts increased pressure on kids to be winners, and parents feel compelled to enable them in every way possible, we’re seeing more and more kids who become distraught over even the smallest misstep.
So let’s take my close friend John’s daughter. Every time this sweet little kid lost on the basketball court she would get completely distraught. She would at times, take the ball and throw it violently and worse still take the ball and hit it on her head. Her coach had never seen a kid who was so hard on herself. She told her to treat herself how she would treat her younger sister when she’d make a mistake and not be so mean to herself. But this fear of failure was already ingrained and would take years to peel those layers off. A better way would be to get started on the right foot.
So what are the strategies to hail failure just as you hail Success?
Talk it Out.
Help your child identify the emotions they feel and express them in an acceptable way. When your child is not successful, whether in the classroom or on the basketball court parents (or any adult caregiver) should be available to help them work through the emotions.
Discover the why
Give them an opportunity to talk about why they think things didn’t go the way they wanted or expected them to go. Even youngsters can express their feelings, and one of the best things a parent can do is listen. Your child will likely even provide some insight into what happened that you were not aware of.
Monkey See, Monkey do
Remember that your child watches how you respond to failures in your own life. It’s okay to share your disappointment, and it’s important to show them how you learn from these experiences.
Lay Off the Pressure.
Yes, diamonds are created in extreme pressure. And life is going to offer enough pressure to your kid. You can lay off a bit. Provide age-appropriate activities and goals that match your child’s interests and skills. Too often, parents lose their way in expecting too much of a child at too young of an age. Relax and lay off the pressure to master skills early and excel at everything. It really is okay if your child can’t do a toe-touch in first grade or is unable to hit the ball off a tee at age 4.
Journey matters. Teach them that.
Let your child know that winning isn’t the most important thing. Give as much praise for their effort and attitude as you do for a winning outcome. Prioritize the journey, enthusiasm and trying, and what they learn along the way.
Superpowers are not just for Halloween.
Nurture Your Child’s Superpowers. Talk to your child about their strengths—the things that you observe as their positive traits. Notice the things that make them unique. Let them see that there are many winning traits.
These qualities don’t need to have anything to do with being the best or winning, either. For example, they may not have won the race, but they did congratulate the winner, cheer the loudest for the other athletes, thank their coach, pick up trash left along the track, and/or shave two seconds off their personal best. Conversations such as this can help build self-esteem and perspective in even a very young child.
Love. It’s just that simple.
And most of all truly love without limitations. Not just verbalize it. Show it, too. Just saying, “Whatever you do I will always love you,” but showing up with a dejected face at every loss will tell them a different story. Let your child know that you value them, win or lose.