Every time I listen to news stories filled with violence and young people I wonder what is the problem with our young people. Recently a young man killed his girlfriend because she rejected him. No one wants to be rejected, no one wants to lose. I don’t think a large portion of today’s youth understand winning and losing.
Part of the problem begins with the adults. I have witnessed kids on a team where everyone gets a trophy, the winners and the losers. To me that makes no sense. It seems the coaches don’t want to hurt the self-esteem of the child that loses. That is not the real world. Someone is not going to get the job, the guy doesn’t always get the girl, or vice versa. Everything is not for you.
Losing is a part of life. Young people, and people not so young, have to learn to take no for an answer. I recently competed in several contests for Toastmasters International. I went out to win but clearly understanding that I could very well lose. If I had lost the plan was to dust myself off and go back to the drawing board and improve my skills. In each contest I walked away with the first or second place trophy. The trophies were only for the winners, the other participants received a certificate of participation. I knew that going in. The losers didn’t stomp off mad, they congratulated the winners and moved on.
I recently witnessed a group of children playing a simple game of musical chairs. Maybe kids don’t play this as often as we did back in the day, but this group of little children didn’t understand that there was one chair less than kids and when the music stopped one person would not have a place to sit and would be eliminated. I felt so bad for the little children, when the first little boy lost I thought someone had cut off his foot. He screamed and cried and ran to his mother, the next two kids reacted in a similar fashion. I was worried that they would be scarred for life after a game of musical chairs. It takes a big person to be a cheerful loser. I’m not saying that you should want to lose but at some time in your life you won’t be on the winning end. Parents and guardians explain to your children about winning and losing in all aspects of life.
Please don’t tell your children that they can have anything and everything that they want, without explaining the challenges that come along with winning. Let them know that everything is not for them. Life doesn’t work that way. You have to work for your rewards, earn them. I went on an audition recently and felt that I had aced it. The call never came, I didn’t get the job. It wasn’t for me, wasn’t meant to be. That part was for someone else. I didn’t get mad, I didn’t want to shoot up the place. I’ll just wait for the next audition and maybe the next part will be mine. Acting is a business where you have to understand rejection. People have to learn sportsmanship, winning and losing and please don’t take everything personal.
(E-mail the columnist at firstname.lastname@example.org.)