Sometimes your child needs to lose in order to win. It may sound harsh, but there are many life lessons to be learned from losing occasionally. This is why teachers and parents should be reinforce the idea that winning isn’t everything, and certainly not ‘the only thing’, as claimed by 1960s US NFL coach, Vince Lombardi.
Of course there are positives in winning, namely the confidence boost that it brings. It can make our children feel validated knowing that what they did, worked and delivered results! Winning keeps our children excited and motivated. But it can also cause complacency.
Losing, obviously has its downsides – it’s not a great feeling to lose for a start. Consistently losing has the potential to turn our children off an activity. Balance is the key.
Here we look at the potential learning opportunities and benefits of losing, with our top five reasons why winning isn't everything:
1. Builds character
Losing at something your child has trained hard for can be difficult, but it can build character. How your child responds to losing, and their ability to pick themselves and dust themselves off ready for the next challenge, is a measure of their character. Rather than fault the competition, support your children and help them build resilience by acknowledging the defeat, encouraging them to not give up, and letting them know there will be other opportunities to counter the loss.
2. Preparation for life
The harsh reality is that we don’t always get what we want in life as an adult – sometimes we win (the job promotion, the auction, the game), and sometimes we don’t. It is a good lesson for children and adolescents to learn early as it will help prepare them to cope better with life as adults.
3. Provides drive and purpose
In losing, our children continue to learn as they strive to do better and improve, to prevent further losses. While some children develop an ‘I’ll show them’ attitude, others are motivated by other’s perceptions of them (embarrassment) – both of these attitudes can give children the drive to do improve.
4. Encourages self-reflection
Losing encourages children to reflect on their actions and attitudes. They are forced to evaluate their performance to look at areas for improvement, preventing complacency. Children can evaluate whether or not they need to put in more effort or practice, and may question their own level of dedication, and the effect this has on results.
5. Encourages humility
In always winning, children can get a false sense of their own abilities. The occasional loss grounds our children and prevents them from becoming self-important. If wins are balanced by losses, children become more humble in winning, aware that it could have just as easily gone the other way.
6. Makes winning sweeter
Winning is only valuable when it comes with effort and real challenge. When your child betters a worthy opponent, it gives him or her a sense of achievement knowing that they did the right things, in the right way, to secure the win. Winning carries more weight and the positive effects are amplified.
Trinity Grammar School is fuelled by a pastorally aware culture with exceptionally high levels of individual student attention, and we believe in teaching boys how to cope with adversity, to lose with dignity and to win with grace, whether it be on the sporting field, on the stage or in the classroom.
To experience the Trinity difference for yourself, watch our Trinity in Action videos.