Mar 9, 2014


** this post may ruffle feathers. just saying**

Last week it was Luka's first ever school athletics day. It was brutal. It was the first time he has ever competed on a track, to the sound of a starting pistol and screaming mothers (me) on the sideline. He is five years old and has been at school for less than 10 weeks. He was overwhelmed.

Halfway through the second heat he realised he was in the  middle of the pack and didn't stand a chance of winning. He began crying and finished the race a mess. He was devastated. My super competitive boy was notveryfastatall. He was inconsolable.

Here's my beef with this all...

The school carriculum and varsities teach our teachers and kids that all you need to do is participate. It's ok not to win, at least you tried. In my experience that does not translate all that well into adulthood. You either get a job. Or not. I either win a project. Or not. You either win the heart of the one you love. Or not.

Life is about winning and losing. It's about grit. Sure participation is great and not every body can win all the time. But the competitive spirit (grit again) is what makes us successful whether as Mums, workers, homemakers, business women, students, whatever. And success is not always defined as what our culture says it is either.

So my priority is to foster grit in Luka so that he will want to succeed, and then teach him how to win and how to lose.

Admittedly I was in a flap after Luka's races. It was heart breaking to see his distress. I called MJ who called his sister for advice. She is incredibly competitive/ athletic and also married to a professional athlete. She said for next time, to take him to the track in the weeks leading up to the event. To "train" and familiarise himself with the track and races.

But the reality is that even with all of this Luka may still be Mr Not-so-fast.

Luka has to be ok with losing but want to try and win next time. So I put my arm around him and said well done. You did give it your all. I said that we all have out "thing". The thing we are great at. We ALL have a thing. And that this may not be his thing. And that's ok. His thing may be rugby league or playing the guitar or having a business. But I want him to want to succeed. I want him to have grit.

I am no tiger-mother. But there is something to be said for expecting greatness in some capacity in each other. In my view, that's what makes us walk on the moon, come up with the Montessori curriculum or devote ourselves to serving the poor in Calcutta.

This motherhood thing is really hard. I long to make it all better for Luka, to say the "right" things. But he has to learn to deal with losing so he can get up tomorrow and shoot for the moon again. He needs grit.

Here's an amazing TED talk on grit *only 6min long*


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  1. I completely agree with your whole philosophy on this one love! It's how I have raised Ethan. Participating just doesn't cut it for me, if you're in it, you're in it to win it. Obviously you won't win everything all the time but that's how you get your grit!

  2. I agree. I think it is a good idea to have a little practice run leading up to any it a sports event or a spelling test. If you know you have helped your kids be at their optimum what ever the case and they still give 110 percent and then they still don't make the cut, then there's nothing more they could have done and the better person won on the day.
    Parenting is super tricky!...but all these little things are character building!

  3. You cant win if you don't try!! Falling down, and losing only helps build grit and makes you tougher, stronger and a better competitor I reckon. Life isn't just about participating, it's about getting in and among it and finding your strengths and learning to be generous in defeat, and gracious in victory. We all have a thing - you go Mama!


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