building the next generation of Non-Losers (or is it Non Winners?)


I used to coach kids baseball and football when I could still actually play some (I liked teaching the mechanics and playing stuff). Nowadays there is this kind of wacky thing going on where kids, learning to play, can’t lose. Sometimes they don’t even keep score. They play games with a tee ball where you can swing as often as you want until you hit it.

I am sure there are dozens of psychology (or psychiatry … I can never keep ‘em straight) papers suggesting that in some way not losing encourages kids to keep playing or feel better about themselves or something.

Ok. Here the deal. In games. In school. In whatever. Someone wins and someone loses. I won’t list all those situations again but in addition to winning and losing, there are some people smarter than you, some less smart, some will be better at things than you and some who don’t do some things as well as you. Sorry folks. That would be called Life.

Somewhere along the way we seemed to have lost sight of the issue.

It isn’t about winning or losing.

It is all about how you handle winning or losing. That is the lesson we should be teaching kids (and there are a boatload of adults who could probably use the lesson too).

So now we are heading down a path where the initial lesson we are teaching a generation is that winning or losing doesn’t matter. And I don’t care which side of that equation you take…each side matters.

Yes. It matters if you win.

And, yes, it matters if you lose.

If you don’t think that, then you don’t learn from each time. It isn’t that losing is bad (although winning feels better), it is that losing should show you something. Can I improve? Should I invest time improving? Is it that maybe there are too many others better than I am at this particular thing?

Winning is the exact same thing. But winning in childhood is tricky and addictive. Winning can fool you into believing different things about yourself and your abilities. But that is a lesson also.

But none of that really matters because we are bringing up a generation where we are missing the opportunity to teach kids that. Why? Because no one is frickin’ winning or losing. We are building a generation of nonwinners where everyone is truly losing in the end.

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Written by Bruce