Psychology & Sociology Student, Salt Lake Community College

This conversation is closed.

Do you teach your children to win, or to do their best?

As Mr. Wooden exemplifies, by example is always the best way to teach and to learn. I grew up feeding on competition. If people are ever going to be happy, that American attitude has to change. The USA woman's soccer team beat Brazil yesterday in the World Cup by scoring a last second goal and winning in a shootout. The mood after the game was electric. Players talked about the "American Spirit". How we endure to the end... I couldn't help but think that the total joy or sadness felt by by everyone involved hinged on a single moment at the end of the game. The journey was only "worth it" because they won. I don't think it would have felt the same if the US had lost. It would have been a tragic failure. That is our culture in the United States. That's how I lived and breathed when I was growing up. I needed to be the best at everything. If I wasn't, I was a loser, and that made me feel sad. That concept is wrong. I can never be happy by comparing myself to others. I can only do my best. I need to change my mind set about this. I want to teach my daughter through example. I don't expect her teachers and coaches to do it for me, and neither should you. Not everyone is John Wooden. Until a major movement has swept over the country about the definition of success, it is up to us to teach our children how to be happy and be examples of true success.

  • Jul 12 2011: Teach your children to do their best, and they will win. And if they don't win, they will be less sad because they give their best. By doing your best, you will develop yourself on a better way. By always wanting to win, you will be obsessed and you don't care, you just want to win.. All the time. Always wanting to win is good, but giving the best you have is even better. That shows real maturity and character. And just because of that ; You are a winner by giving your best :)
  • Jul 18 2011: Hello to you, Debra. That is encouraging. Are enough kids taught these principles, do you think? If not, is there an epidemic of bad/neglectful parenting?
  • thumb
    Jul 18 2011: I taught my kids to do their best. It is not wrong to win but I think it is wrong to win at any cost. Winning may or may not be a product of excellence. In my own life, I strive to surpass myself and help others along the way.
    I think trying to 'win' is often mistaken for defeating others and I'm not sure that it is productive for our societies or our relationships. Some of the crappiest people I know are 'winners' and they are the ones who used to love to put that forefinger and thumb to their forehead and proclaim others to be 'losers'.
    I am sorry but they should look in the mirror for the real definition of that word.
  • Jul 18 2011: I have to give credit to Abby Wambach and Hope Solo for their poise and grace in their comments after their Wold Cup loss to Japan in the final game of the tournament. I expected a complete emotional breakdown, but they handled themselves with class. I am more of a woman's soccer fan after this tournament than I was before. Check out this website. It's a great article about what sports are for.
  • thumb
    Jul 12 2011: I have tried to teach them to try their hardest, but they don't. They feel entitled and are slackers. We did not know if my oldest was going to graduate high school until the last minute. He is smart enough, just not motivated. Same on down the line.
    • thumb
      Jul 12 2011: even though it is the cheaper route, community college can be just as unmotivating as high school. from the similarily unmotivated. gota love the public school system
    • Jul 18 2011: Motivation definitely has to come from within ones self. Others can be a catalyst for motivation, but we decide for ourselves what we will do. I hope your kid's paths have a lot of self discovery in store...
    • thumb
      Jul 18 2011: Dain, I hear the echo of the unkindness that you have been subjected to in the evaluations you are making above. I have come to see that we all perform in life as we are able- not as others need to believe we are able.
  • thumb
    Jul 12 2011: I don't think it is wrong to feel sad after loosing any more than it is wrong to feel good about winning. What is important is having a since of perspective. Enjoy your victory but know you will lose at some point, and if you lose at something a certain amount of sadness is to be expected but you have to keep trying.
    • thumb
      Jul 18 2011: I used to tell my kids that it was vital, crucial to be a humble winner. A gloating winner plants the seeds of something imperishable in their opponents. No one wants to be shamed or ridiculed and they will never forget it.
      • Jul 18 2011: That is awesome. We often don't realize how much we affect each other. Many people act without thinking. How have your kids reacted to your your past comments?
        • thumb
          Jul 18 2011: HI Brandon, They are adults and they are interesting and interested people doing good work. They understood how to walk in other people's shoes from the time that they were little. They are also successful at what is important to them and while 4 are still in university my eldest has a career that most people would envy and he has done it by challenging himself and working with people.
  • thumb
    Jul 11 2011: depends. i was never in sports in high school, but i was in marching band. although i did like playing my saxophone, marching was really not that fun, but it was competitive. i marched becuase simply i liked competitions, and when we diddnt do well i wasnt really having any fun. children should decide for themselves what makes them happy. its up to us to ask them why.