Benjamin collapsed into a heap in the grass seconds after John Bear scored a goal.
John and I were letting him win about 80% of the time and giving him a tough fight for the other 20%. After goals Benjamin would yell victoriously, “Benjamin wins again!” And during losing streaks he would cry out, whine, and scream – anything to get us to leave him alone and let him have the ball.
This wasn’t the first time I noticed my son’s severe aversion to losing.
This trait of his, I have decided, is my doing. I’ve always let him win, wanting to avoid a tantrum or because I just like to seem him excited. But now that he’s four, a big boy in his own right, and clearly able to “get over it” – so I haven’t been so easy on him.
I refused to let him cheat at Candyland a few weeks ago and now this soccer match. No more Ms. Nice Mommy. But, as he laid there in the grass sobbing I lifted him up into a hug and said, “Let me tell you something, babe.”
He looked up at me through tear filled eyes, “What?”
“It’s okay to lose.”
“But, I don’t want to lose.”
“I know, you don’t. But everyone loses sometimes. Even Mommy loses.”
A look of wonder filled his eyes and than I realized this aversion to losing may not be so far from the tree. Then I told him what I tell myself when I lose, after I pick myself back up and dust myself off.
“And, do you know what I say?”
“Let me try that again!”
Fortunately, for just about all of this, there are always second chances.