For starters, it is a game of chance, not skill.  And I beat him fair and square.  But that’s not the point of this post.  The point is…why didn’t I let him win?

Because life isn’t always a smooth path to the candy castle.  That’s why.

There have been plenty of times that I would have loved to skip over some of the path, take two turns in a row, or jump straight to whatever the real life equivalent of the ice cream cone spot is.  But life doesn’t work that way.  It would be even better if every time I cried and pouted I got what I wanted, but I’ve tried that and it doesn’t work.

We’re growing up and raising our kids in a world of no score no win games.

Who won?  Doesn’t matter, you had fun.

Everyone needs equal playing time.

Let’s all be in charge.

We’re all the best.

I agree there’s a time and a place for that.  And sometimes…it is important that everyone participates and goes home a winner.

But at some point you are in the real world and you realize that was all a lie.  You are probably not the best, probably not in charge, you have to earn your chances.  And…brace yourself…not everyone wins every time.

Am I suggesting he should be a cut throat competitor who destroys everyone in his path?  Absolutely not.

But I do think there is an important life lesson in learning to lose gracefully.  In following the rules even though cheating would help you win.  In realizing how sweet a victory is when you worked hard for it and got it honestly.  In being compassionate to others when their fate isn’t quite so sweet.  In making an effort worth being proud of regardless of outcome.  And in building real confidence in a healthy way, without handing them everything with a ribbon on it.

Before you think I’m cruel…I have let him “win” before.  Like in a foot race to brush his teeth.  (Really, I’m winning then too, ha.)  And before you think he’s a super mature kid who understands some of life’s most challenging concepts…he still pouts about losing sometimes.

But if I can help it…some day this boy will know both victory and defeat, and that win or lose, you can always behave like a champion.