24 Apr Losing Like a Champ: A Lesson We Should All Teach Our Kids
Trash-talk is a major theme in the comedy, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story. The movie is meant to make us laugh – and it succeeds! But there’s nothing funny about crossing the line into unsportsmanlike conduct in real life.
As an active and fun-loving family, we have witnessed screaming matches, dirty tactics, and meltdowns from players, coaches, and even parents. Things can spiral out of control very quickly, particularly in the case of youth activities. Navigating highly competitive settings in a healthy way takes practice whether you are in the winners’ circle or on a losing streak!
Honor in Winning and Losing
When it comes to games, sports, or any activity that requires scorekeeping, we are a fiercely competitive family. We always play to win whether we are competing against each other or teaming up to defeat an opponent.
As much as we love the rush of competition and the glow of victory, we place great value on being gracious winners. Playful ribbing is allowed – and expected – but we set a high bar for good sportsmanship in all spheres of competition.
We teach our son that being a good sport can mean encouraging competitors to try again, congratulating rivals for their effort, or even comforting peers in their sorrow. But what happens when the shoe is on the other foot? We realize that it’s easy to be a good sport while you’re savoring victory. But loss can be a bitter pill.
Your child may be a star athlete, an academic whiz, an artistic genius, or a musical prodigy who has conquered every challenge – so far. But no matter how gifted, talented, or hardworking they are, they will miss the mark someday. And being a sore loser won’t get them very far.
With that in mind, it is vital to prepare your kiddo for the inevitability that they must deal with disappointment and teach them how to maintain dignity in the midst of adversity. From our family to yours, here are a few ideas on what it means to lose like a champ!
Losing Sparks Empathy
Everyone wants to beat the competition because coming in last doesn’t feel good! But when we lose, it is an opportunity to bank the painful feelings and always remember the hurt. So, when we do come out on top, we can treat our rivals with the genuine consideration and respect that we would desire in that situation. What’s more, we will become more compassionate toward people in all areas of life.
Losing Promotes Perseverance
Banking hurt feelings does more than boost empathy. It also fuels our desire and ability to stay the course. There’s an old proverb that says: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” It’s true that losing can be strong motivation to keep pushing until we achieve our goals.
Losing Fosters Mental Toughness
With every loss comes a hard lesson. It’s up to us to use the knowledge and experience gained from failure to improve, grow, and evolve. No matter the playing field, the toughest battle we can win is against self-doubt.
Losing Instills Humility
If we aren’t careful, winning seasons can trigger foolish pride. Losing can give us a vital wake-up call and remind us that we are imperfect mortals with the ability to stumble. A little humble pie is healthy for the mind, heart, and spirit.
Losing Stokes Humor
Sometimes we make boneheaded mistakes and just blow it! When we are passionate about something, but still mess things up, it stings. But some levity is allowed and can be quite healthy! In most cases, whatever we are doing is supposed to be (at least a little) fun! When we can laugh at our hiccups, missteps, and blunders, it keeps us from getting bogged down in the dumps. And once we’ve had a good chuckle, it’s back to business with a focused attitude and renewed perspective.
Losing Builds Character
The behavior we choose to display whether we win or lose is an indicator of our maturity. It is natural and healthy to express disappointment when we feel it. But despite any unfavorable outcome, when we show honor, respect, and love to rivals, teammates, mentors, coaches, and ourselves, our character is strengthened.
Losing Tests Self Control
Expressing sadness or frustration after a setback is healthy and we must teach our future leaders to do so in a constructive way. Maintaining accountability for mistakes, recognizing growth areas, and acknowledging what we did well are all productive ways to channel feelings. Children who learn to practice self-control will grow into adults who have mastered it.
Losing Makes Future Wins More Enjoyable
After a tough loss we may feel low. But, in continued pursuit of our goals, we often become hungrier for success than ever before. And when we finally hit the target, we can truly appreciate where we are because of where we’ve been.
As seen in the movie clip above, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story is over-the-top entertainment. But it does sneak in a message about good sportsmanship. Parents, let’s keep ourselves in check and set a good example for our kids when it comes to winning and losing.
What do you think it means to “Lose Like a Champ”? Comment and join the discussion.