3 Christmases ago, my son participated in a chair dance competition and he lost to the winner. He cried so much it hurt. That had not been the only time I had seen him cry after losing at a game or sport. I spent the next couple of months telling him at any chance I could get how he didn’t always have to win at everything he participated in. I didn’t tell him not to keep trying, but I made him realise that he could win some and then lose some. I didn’t dwell too much on it and I didn’t even revisit the issue at all. Somehow, I saw him win several chair dance competitions and dance competitions at parties and I sighed heavy sighs of relief each time.
Today I was at a child’s party with him and next thing I know he’s been thrown out at the 3rd stage of a dance competition. My heart rate went up instantly. I was afraid he’d make a fuss, or worse, I was afraid he’d cry. To my surprise, he bounced back to his seat with a big smile and a little chuckle. I was happy for a moment and then the fear inside me came up for air. I suddenly remembered how in reference to how Will Smith had laughed at Chris Rock’s joke about Jada but later smacked Chris in the face, my sister had said “people laugh a lot to hide pain so sometimes it’s hard to tell”.
I got into an argument with myself about how he was only 8 years old and couldn’t put up a facade if he wasn’t happy and all. While I argued with myself, I saw him try to get into another competition. He was turned down…15 minutes later he entered into another competition. He was asked to bring his mum to join him for the game and I obliged. While we waited for the rules, I asked him why he was entering into all the games and competitions and with his usual bubbly spirit and a large smile he said “I want to win a prize, I will keep participating in all games till I win a prize today”.
I played the game with him and he won.
I learned some lessons today:
- I worry too much.
- Things get better with time.
- Everything will ALWAYS be alright in the END.
I hope I learn these lessons long enough to use them as a guide for him.