My son likes to win. I’ve been noticing that Liam ONLY likes to win and in fact will pack up the game and leave if he realizes he’s playing a losing battle. He did this when we played Battleship the other day, but I said nothing and let it go for another day.
Ellison likes to be involved in everything. She can sit still long enough to finish anything. She flits from activity to activity as it suites her fancy. She gets bored easily and moves on to the next happening event. Again, something we notice but let go for another day.
Yesterday was that “another day.”
We were playing Trouble. You know this game right. Pop the contraption with the die in the middle. Move out of Start if you get a 6. First player to get all 4 of their tokens from Start to Home wins the game. If someone lands on you, you’re sent back to home and start the process over again. Liam chose this game because he usually wins (and fairly legitimately mind you) when he plays me.
However, several minutes into the game, I was winning. Ellison was in second place. And Liam had one token Home, but for the life of himself couldn’t Pop a 6 to get a token out of Start. At one point, he began picking up the pieces and packing up the game.
In a matter of seconds I decided to take advantage of this teachable moment. Quickly I said, “No, you’re NOT quitting. Scott’s don’t quit. We may be losing, but we don’t quit. We finish playing the game!” He cried a bit and wanted to stop. This time I just couldn’t let him; he needed to finish the game.
Ellison wanted to go do something else, but we made her stick it out as well. She did, and she won. Reluctantly at first, Liam hung in there too and ended up coming in second. I lost (fairly legitimately, I may have made one or two errors in my Trouble strategy.) Of course, I made a HUGE deal and gave each of them a hard time about beating me. After all, if they had quit, they wouldn’t have.
Rather like Parenting Isn’t It?
As I write this I’m thinking to myself, “Parenting is like this.”
We face so many battles every day, that we just want to give up the fight. Trying to keep rooms clean, offering a constant supply of healthy snacks and meals, and refereeing arguments can drain even the best of us. But there can be no quitters in parenting. (And yes, I’m talking to myself here too.) So much is at stake. When it comes down to it, letting things go for another day maybe one of the worst things we can do. Good or bad, we need to take advantage of the moments as they come; our kids will be better for it.
We have 3000+ waking hours with our kids over the course of a year. What we do with those hours will make our break our children. Don’t miss out on the teachable moments of life and faith. Be present. Be aware. And love your kids like there’s no tomorrow…