A few days ago we were in the back yard trying to decide on what we should play. My boy grabbed his soccer ball and told me we were going to try to kick the ball to make a goal. Whoever got to twenty first would win. For him to make a goal and score a point, there were several ways that could happen. For me, though, I had to kick the ball past him and hit the fence in a specific area without going out of bounds. I chuckled at the unfairness but went with it because I knew that some kind of lesson was about to transpire.
As we played, the rules kept changing. If the ball did something that prevented him from scoring, he made up a new rule. It was funny the first couple times, but then my competitive nature sprung to life, and I balked at the absurdity! That didn’t matter to him and he continued to play by his own rules.
One thing he didn’t plan for was that I’m a little bigger, my aim is a little more practiced, and my kick is a little stronger. I kept scoring points within the limits he’d set for me and my name was at the top of the leaderboard the whole game.
Close to the end, this guy was beyond frustrated. His plan was not working out for him and he lost that game he had so meticulously planned to win. When we came inside, he allowed his frustrations to get the best of him. We talked for a few minutes about what good sportsmanship is and how to conduct yourself when you lose because “sometimes in this life you will lose!” I told him how much I loved him and that I wanted him to learn how to lose with grace and grit because it would serve him well in this life. I assured him that I wasn’t mad at him and then sent him to his room to just cool down and think for a little bit.
He emerged from his room a little while later with a completely different countenance and this conversation ensued...
Him: Mom, I thought about what happened.
Me: And what did you come up with?
Him: I have a new plan.
Me: Oh yeah, what’s that?
Him: I think I should apologize for how I acted and try to be a better next time I lose.
I scooped that boy up in my arms as fast as I could and told him how proud I was of him for doing the right thing. He scurried off to play and I humbly breathed a prayer asking God to help me learn from my six-year-old how to be better when I lose.