What Does it Mean to Win? (or Why Your Dad Isn’t a Loser)

Baseball season has begun (my Blue Jays are torturing me already). Where I’m from, it’s a wonderful time which symbolizes the dawn of spring. But, as a Dad Coach, I also dread the moments that are to come this summer where grown-ups lose sight of the reason we play these games. I have a visceral reaction when I see adults speak to children like in the following viral video.

I won’t judge you if you find some humour in this clip (though I hope your laughter is infused with irony). I do, however, hope we can agree that this coach is wrong. So wrong.

It’s not that parents such as myself care more or less about winning than others. It would be the height of disingenuousness to claim this. It’s that we don’t see the winning of that game as, in fact, the true win. Rather, we’d prefer our child lost the game if it means it will help nurture the resilience necessary to deal with a lifetime of disappointments, mistakes, and failures that are required in the process of succeeding. Because there’s nothing emptier than winning something you know you didn’t earn.

It’s because we see the parenting process as a long game of chess rather than a quick game of checkers. We understand that, like chess, we occasionally put our pieces into positions that seem like losses, but it’s to set up success much later in the game. We’re in it for the long run, not for the immediate gratification or the plastic trophy. We want to nurture the development of kids that can flourish in a storm, not melt away like sugar cubes at the first contact with a raindrop.

Originally published at royan lee.