Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Why I Think Everyone Shouldn't Win

This is an opinion post. I'm going to say that up front. This comes from my little, old brain, and you have every right to disagree with me.

Over the last few days, I've been tending some different groups of kids. It's been really good for Kevin, because he's really enjoyed the company and because he's having to share.

The thing is, I have a hard time with sharing sometimes. They are, strictly speaking, his toys. If he's playing with them, I'm not going to tell him he has to give up the one he's playing with to another kid who has a hundred other toys to choose from, but wants the one that my son is playing with. On the other hand, if the other kid is playing with a toy, I'm not going to make him give up the one he is playing with either, not even to my son.

So, when they are done with the toy, the other kid can play with it. That's what I find fair, so that's what I enforce. Again, that's a personal thing and every parent has different rules at their house.

However, what's really been preying on my mind recently is the "everybody wins" thing.

I graduated in Elementary Education and though I don't have much experience, I did observe quite a few ways that teachers try to make games fun for everyone. Usually, you just don't have a winner, or you try and make everyone feel like a winner.

However, when Kevin and his friend were playing Hungry, Hungry Hippos today, I saw what I thought of as a flaw with that perspective.

Link to picture's source
Kevin's friend won the game, and immediately, she started chatting, "I won, I won." I told her that it was good that she won, but she didn't need to tease or we couldn't play. She stopped immediately, and they kept playing. Kevin, on the other hand, argued back that he had won, even though his hippo has collected fewer balls. I told him that his friend had won, and that we should be excited for her. So, we clapped for his friend, and we played again. The next time, he won and we clapped for him too.

Here's the thought that occurred to me: If there is never a winner, how can kids learn to be happy with other's good fortune?

Often in my life, someone else has received a blessing that I have really wanted. Recently, as I've been struggling with not becoming pregnant, it can be difficult sometimes to be happy for others' pregnancies. In some ways, every time someone announces that they are pregnant, a tiny spear of pain punctures my heart and it begins to ache. However, that doesn't change the fact that I am legitimately happy for my friends and family who have received this marvelous blessing. It just means that it is something I am working on.

When we teach our children to put aside their own desires and be happy for those around them who have good fortune, we are teaching them that other's needs and desires are just as important as their own. It is difficult for people (including me) to look outside of themselves and hope for other people's happiness. Sometimes it is hard to see the blessings that we have, when we are too busy seeing the blessings that we don't have.

As my husband often reminds me, we are blessed with an incredible son. Most people who struggle with getting pregnant, don't have even the one child to comfort them. I have family who want so badly to have children, and for some reason they can't. We pray for them frequently, and they help me remember to count my blessings.

Elder Holland gave a great talk a while back. It was called, "The Laborers in the Vineyard." It kind of talks about this same topic, about how we are not being treated unfairly just because someone else is blessed. This talk came to my mind while I was thinking about this today.

You can read it if you want to. It's a great talk.

So, I'm going to try to teach my son to be happy when others win, and that it's okay to want to win too. I used to be super-competitive. If I lost a game, it was very upsetting to me. I kind of had to learn to stop caring so much so that I could enjoy playing, and not get so angry. Now, I'm kind of casual about games, but I think I enjoy them more. I still want to win, but it's beginning to be okay when I lose too.


  1. It's interesting, there was an episode on Girl Meets World about this, where everyone got trophies after a soccer game, and the kid said that if he gets a trophy for not even trying, then why bother? I think we've swung too far in the wrong direction. People need to learn how to win and how to lose.

    1. I agree. Losing isn't fun, but it's important to be a good winner too.