My kids went to the greatest birthday party a couple of weeks ago. Â It had everything a kid could possibly want: 2 enormous bouncy houses, an all-you-can-eat nacho bar, a 4 foot tall pinata, 3 cakes – and tons of games. Â But these werenâ€™t the games my kids were used to playing, these were â€œold schoolâ€ games. Â Games where there was a clear winner – and a clear loser. Â As I watched the kids duke it out in tug-of-war, I realized that my daughter had rarely lost a game in her life. Â The games she had played at other parties, in school, and even at home didnâ€™t dictate a clear winner, or more importantly, a clear loser. Â She (and I for that matter) were more used to being praised simply for participating and giving it a good shot.
Iâ€™m not a competitive person, and I certainly see the benefits of encouraging participation and rewarding good effort. Â But after watching my daughter switch sides when she realized her tug-of-war team was losing, and then throwing a fit like a toddler after losing a balloon-popping game I realized that learning to lose is important too.
Learning to lose gracefully is important for several reasons, but perhaps the most important is that it is just part of life. Â Some of us lose a lot, some not so much, but none of us come out on top all the time. Â Teaching our kids that losing can be part of a happy life is an important lesson, as is encouraging them to get up and try again after a failure or loss.