A long time ago one of my kids pulled out the chess board and set up the pieces and challenged me to a game. She looked at me and said, “You’re going to let me win right?”
I said, “Little girl you’re about to get taken to school! Let me tell you something Boris Spassky, you want to win then you’ve got to BEAT me. That’s what winning is. Overcoming your opponent. Do you want to grow up with an over inflated sense of how good you are? You’re 8. You can’t even spell humiliated and you’re about to get a lot of it. This ain’t chutes and ladders punk. You may be the queen of candy land, but don’t be bringing your sense of entitlement up here into my living room chica. I’m about to repaint the game room with the blood of your knights and bishops kid! You better check your mindset before you come in here asking if I’m going to let you win. We don’t do participation trophies in this house. If you wanna be the best you gotta beat the best. Woooo. It’s gonna be like taking a ride on space mountain chump. I’ll have you at check mate in two moves girly mouth. You best go find Bobby Fischer because I’m coming at you with a Ponziani Opening followed by a Torre Attack. Then I’m gonna hit you with a folding chair. I don’t care how cute those pig tails are.”
Mean isn’t it? Ok, so maybe I didn’t say all that, but my intentions were clear. I had no intention of LETTING her win. There’s no merit in that!
And guess what? Our kids dont have to win all the time to feel good about themselves. Stop LETTING your children go through life without learning how to be disappointed.
These days, to be honest, my kids beat me in chess quite regularly. All of them can beat me when they apply themselves to concentrate on strategy and compete. Punks probably cheat. But seriously, they know how to win AND lose with grace and dignity.
Years ago I knew a professional pool player who was ridiculously good. However he never could get to the highest in the pro levels. He couldn’t bring home the top prizes. One day I asked him why he thought that was. He said something profound. He said, “I’ve spent most of my life playing with and competing against B level players.” He went on, “I never pushed myself to practice with those with an A level game. Therefore I’ve floated through the pros never becoming the best I could be.”
When it comes to life, give your kids a chance, but don’t give them everything they think they deserve. Teach them how to win. Make them compete and beat them until they can learn from it and become the very best they can be. You’ll be glad you did! Check out my funny video below.