Wednesday, October 17, 2012

No room for second place

Evan came home from the playground one day with a dark cloud over his head and went into the corner and sat with the grandest sulk. With much prodding, we found out that he had tried to race his sister round the playground on his bike but his sister was too far ahead and he gave up and cried. Packrat looked at me with the "YOU deal with this!" look. I try. I console him but I suspect, like me, he is angry and defeatist about not being the best. Every consolation I offer is rebuffed.

1. Me: It's okay to come in second. As long as you have tried your best.
   Evan: But I did try my best and I was so slow.

2. Me: It doesn't matter if Jordan is faster, you are good at other things.
   Evan: I am not good at anything.

3. Me: Trying is important. If you keep trying and don't give up, it will get better.
    Evan: What for try? I try so hard, still lose.

Every attempt gets dismissed with an angry swipe as he spirals into a dark and twisty place.

I lament to Packrat, the one who has the athletic ability doesn't have the competitive drive to want to excel. It is only fun when it is effortless.  The one who is competitive to the point of driving himself crazy, trips over his feet when he tries to run too fast.

And the thing is he is good at a great number of things. It's just that the things he is good at, they aren't overtly competitive and obvious.

For the record, my Darling Evan, you are brilliant at
1. Identifying different brands of things. Cars, Bottled drinks, dragons, Star Wars characters...
2. Reading- we are extremely proud of the fact that you can read whole books
3. Math- our brains jointly exploded when we jokingly asked you if a dragon had 4 heads and there were 100 dragons, how many heads were there and you nonchantly answered 400.
4. Figuring things out- you made a series of gears by laying all our bikes on the ground and you have figured out the complicated entertainment system in the house.
5. Tennis- You have nice strokes and you are getting the hang of how to connect the ball with the racket
6. Building things- You're getting great at building Lego and I forsee a future where I step on Lego bits all over the floor and holler.
7. You know instinctively the day of the week and the date in the month and are very helpful in reminding Mommy!

He is Packrat's son and Packrat admits it. Geeks he says, enjoying geek pursuits. It's only when he tries to be the jock and is out of his natural fit that it becomes a bit tougher.

We have to teach him that there is no shame in coming in second and it is the journey that counts. But to a 5 year old, there is no room for second place. The athlete in me totally gets it. The mommy in me worries about it.

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