Winners and Losers; Character building

There are so many things that I am thinking about, yet for some reason putting them on paper (computer) seems to be an issue.  Not sure why, other than I think I am overwhelmed with thought.

Perhaps it’s because our family is going through transition, or perhaps it’s because we once again have been traveling to much, or maybe, just maybe it’s because I find myself trying to explain to my children how to deal with inconsistencies and unfairness in a fallen world.  Our lifestyle has us spending a great amount of time with so many who are not what we would call “ideal” role models.  My mind swirls in thought on how to parent in a way that glorifies the Lord.  Teaching them not to spite, not to be rude, to be the light.  In then end, I’m finding these are lessons I too can glean insight.

Let me explain.  We just returned from a weekend out of town where the kids competed in the North American Championship.  We’ve attended this event for 4 years now, and with great excitement our daughter once again placed, receiving a second place for the fourth year in a row in Amateur for all of North America.  Clearly, this is an accomplishment worth being excited about and not something to frown over.

The difficulties come in when, as a parent, you watch your child stressed over such an upcoming event that she isn’t sleeping, she’s practicing for months, spending hours with both of her instructors and confident that this is the year she will take first.  With great hopes of moving up to compete next year in the Gold.  After her competition, she was given a thumbs up by one of the judges, while many more, including the president of the event told her it was a gold medal winning performance.  All day we had to hear that “she swept away the other competitors.”  Yet, in the end, it was a fourth second place.  Disappointment…yes!  Tears…yes!  Bewilderment…yes!  Were we alone in our disbelief…NO!

In times like these, we sit back and wonder, is it worth it?  Okay, I shouldn’t use the word “we”… I wonder if it’s worth it.  I’ve spent the last 5 days considering my words to my daughter and how to continue to reassure her that her natural talent and her ability to pull off a win were there.  After all, she did meet with all three of the judges the next day and together the four of them discussed how she could better her performance next year and she was able to learn what they were looking for.  She also learned that she basically tied for first and they “split hairs” to choose a winner.

Through this I have been pondering the lessons we teach our children when they are in competitive sports or competitive situations.  As well as how we as parents respond to any injustice or defeat our children are forced to accept.

There are winners, and there are losers.  This doesn’t mean that the loser is insignificant.  It just means that at that performance, the winner had a great day and they did well.  We should be happy for them, cheer them on and just try harder next time.  Who knows, next time you may be the winner and it would be nice to have others happy for you.

Life isn’t always fair.  Learning to live in a society where there are favorites is something we all have to live with.  Learning as a child that contentment in a life serving the Lord is more important and will help you to gain perspective, strength, confidence and endurance to get through ANYTHING in this world.

How you feel you played is what counts.  If putting your best foot forward was what you gave in a performance, then you have done your job well.  Especially when you are being affirmed by others that you are their inspiration and that they enjoy watching you perform.  That should be worth more than the blue.  

Spite and bitterness are nothing more than the devils path to destruction.

Hebrews 12:15  (ESV)  15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;

Is it hard to not look at the obvious evidence that there is some bias at times?  Of course it’s hard.  However, no one said that life was going to be easy and if we are going to participate in activities that many of the “lost” are participating in, then we have to remember that we cannot expect moral uprightness.

Accept the things we cannot change. 

God’s plan is not our plan and His timing is not our timing.  Teaching patience to our children can be and is so difficult.  After all, we too struggle with patience.  It’s good to teach our children that prayer for the willingness to wait upon the Lord is important.  

Success is not measured in numbers or colors.  Blue, Red, White, Gold, Silver, Bronze…1st, 2nd, 3rd… How should we measure success?

“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.” – Booker T. Washington

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”  Winston Churchill

“Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom.”  George S. Patton

Winter Storm 2015 KS
Winter Storm 2015 KS

In our book, she’s a winner.  Her perseverance shows success and character.  Her ability to perform in such a way is far more than her own mother could take on.  And, she is excited that even though she thought there were age limits, she is able to move up to compete in the gold next year… even though she took second.  The judges told her that it was her choice and that if she chose to stay in Amateur then she would likely take the gold but if she wanted to move up to Professional, she may not place and she will have to pay her dues (in being at that level of course.  After all, in their book, she’s just an amateur).  Her response… “I want to move up to compete for the gold next year.  I want the challenge, and I want the competition as well as the experience.”   I call that success!

Do I wonder if I’m doing okay with my “motherly” advice to my children?  Of course!  Am I always on target with my response to their heartache?  No!  Do I pray for the wisdom and the the courage to overcome, for them as well as myself?  Absolutely!  Am I encouraged in leading them when I see them persevere and continue on even through persecution, in justice, heartache and criticism?  Most definitely!  Do I still have work to do on my own reaction?  The fact I am even writing about it shows that YES…I find this is also character building for myself!  With the help of the Lord, we will all persevere and next year, I’m hoping she places in the top 5 in the professional… Or… Takes Gold altogether!  ha ha

 

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