Gardening, learning to lose

We did a bunch of work in our front yard garden today, moving a jasmine to a different location, edging our hill with brick, weeding, planting two roses, adding more gravel to the path that leads to my studio, and digging out along the side of the house where the earth is too high. Tonight, when we were doing highs and lows, Hazel said it didn’t look like much had changed. We laughed and rolled our eyes. Our bodies are sore enough that we know we did.

I played “Sleeping Queens” with Hazel tonight. (As a joke last week I called the game, “Sweeping Cleans”, and of course now I cannot get that out of my head.) She has usually beaten me (that’s just the way the cards have been), but tonight I beat her pretty thoroughly, and she got very upset about it. I explained that sometimes I will win and sometimes she will, and sometimes it’ll be not by much and sometimes it’ll be by a lot. I know that billions of parents have faced teaching their kids this lesson, and there’s a lot of wisdom out there on the topic. In the moment, I wasn’t entirely sure what to do, though.

“I don’t like to lose!” she said, tears spilling from her eyes. I told her I know, that everyone has to learn how, and nobody likes it.

Life lessons. Boy oh boy. It’s hard enough to learn them yourself, and super hard teaching them to your children. But then, it’s not really me who’s teaching her, but the situation and how she responds to it. I can offer her guidance, but I can’t program her like a robot. (And that’s assuming I could program a robot, something I doubt.) She was very upset that she only had two queens left, and I had a lot. I thought about giving her some of mine, but that didn’t seem right. I asked her if she wanted to stop playing, and she didn’t.

How do you teach your kids about losing, and how to lose with grace? Thoughts?

And now, off to sleep. Here’s hoping that tomorrow is going to be the day that I wake up sore-throat-free!

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2 thoughts on “Gardening, learning to lose

  1. My two now in their early to mid twenties were highly competitive. I think it helped them that I always lost and made a joke about my failures, so they began to do the same. I don’t know if this would work with your kids but it could be worth trying.

    • cellocatnw says:

      Thanks, Maria. I think humor is a great solution a lot of the time, but that it’s important also to acknowledge the feelings that are happening. But you’re right, me laughing at me might work. Thanks for the comment!

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