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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

What are you teaching your children?

As parents, most of us worry about how our children behave. (Inside and outside of the home.)

We have stressed to our girls for years how important it is to be friendly and caring and not act like selfish brats. And with the exception of Peanut having a nasty temper sometimes, our kids are very caring towards their friends and teachers.

Button is the sensitive one. She is full of empathy and sympathy. At times, she cares more about how others feel than about how she feels. She has a big heart.

The only 'problem' with having a big heart is that people can break it easily.

Yesterday when my husband went to pick up the kids from the YMCA, a counselor pulled him aside and told him she needed to talk about an event. His first reaction was "what did Peanut do now?".

But it wasn't about what Peanut had done wrong. And it wasn't about what Button had done wrong.

It was about what Button had had done to her.

A large group of kids were playing some sort of game with a ball involved. They had to kick the ball and try to knock over the other team's pin.

Poor Button is a little awkward. Maybe it's due to her finally growing a little bit. Who knows. But being awkward shouldn't result in what happened.

When she tried to kick the ball, she pulled her foot back too far. (What's worth doing is worth overdoing, right?)

As she brought her foot back, she accidentally knocked over the pin and lost the game for her team. She said that she knew she had made a mistake but since it was just a game, she thought it wasn't a big deal.

Not a big deal, right? It IS just a game, right?


Her team was so angry that they started to yell at her. Things like "you ruined it" and "it's all your fault that we lost".

And they didn't stop after a few seconds. They kept yelling and getting louder until finally the counselors intervened. When you are 9 and have that many kids yelling horrible things at you and making you feel like an idiot, the only thing you feel like doing sometimes is crying.

Button lost it. She felt terrible and stupid. Those kids made the biggest deal out of a freaking game.
There were no trophies.
There were no ribbons or medals.

It was just a game, after school, at the Y.

What in the name of coffee is wrong with some kids these days? Are they learning this crap from their parents? Why is winning the be-all and end-all?

See, Button used to be a horrible winner AND a horrible loser. But over time, we crushed that out of her and taught her that all that mattered was playing the game. And in her classes over the last few years, they have also stressed what it means to be a 'team player'.

I have strong feelings about this.
One person doesn't ruin a game.

I get so irritated during football season. When a kicker misses an extra point or a last minute field goal, fans (and sometimes the players on the losing team) start mouthing off about how that kicker lost them the game.

That one guy did it?
What about the 11 people on the field when the kicker is on the sidelines?

Maybe if that running back hadn't fumbled on the 3rd yard line, you wouldn't have NEEDED that ONE point to win the game. That 6 points that the running back cost you would have helped you into a position where you didn't need that 3 points from the field goal.

And what about when the kicker misses a 40+ yard kick? Maybe if the offense had been able to get a wee bit closer to the goal posts, the kicker would have had a better shot at making it.

It's called a 'team' for a reason.
You win together and you lose together.

I completely understand the 'want' to win. I have played team sports in my life.

And when I was on those teams, our coaches constantly told us that one person doesn't lose a game. Have the coaches stopped stressing that these days?

Kids can be cruel. And sadly, they get worse with age. They grow up to be cruel adults if no one ever tries to squash that behavior before it's too late.

I don't want Button being afraid to play a game in the future for fear that she will be taunted and ridiculed by her own team/friends if she makes a mistake.

All I can hope is that some parents out there will take a look at their own behavior and realize that kids do what you do. They learn by example.

And maybe some parents might need to be more aware of how their children treat others. They can't hide their true selves for long.

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