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On Raising a Loser

We just wrapped the 5th grade Student Council elections at our school. Needless to say, there has been quite a lot of drama . . . from THE PARENTS.

Raising a Loser: Vote for MY KID!

Without going into too much detail we have some parents that are fired up because a teacher tallied his class results early. You can imagine all of the speculation and over-dramatization that has occurred in a  school fueled by parents who want their kids to win {at everything}.

I’m sure some of it was worth an eye brow raise. {I’m trying to justify you a little bit here over-dramatic parents}

Out of a grown woman’s mouth: “I don’t get it. Somethings not right. So many of the popular kids didn’t win.”

Hey guess what? I thought I was cool too, and then I got beat in the 8th grade elections by a girl who dressed up like Barney. Barney. The big purple dinosaur. Take those stripes my friend.

There have been moms on phone calls, calling the principal, emailing the teacher, in short, throwing fits. And guess what that translates into? Bad behavior in your kids at school – modeled by YOU.

Whether you think you are right, wrong, or justified, you’ve just taught your kid something big.

Yay parents! You win at showing your kid how to be a poor loser. Someone who values status more than people. Someone who seeks popularity instead of kindness. Someone who doesn’t know how to lose well.

You’ve just Bush-Gore-d the 5th grade elections and called for a review of the hanging chads. Go home all ready.

How to Raise a Loser

I’m the parent of a loser. Literally one of the MANY kids who left school dejected that day because they didn’t make it into the next round of the student council elections. I let her skip her dentist appointment and got cupcakes. But we talked about why losing is great. It takes bravery to run and to put yourself out there. It takes strength to hear that you didn’t make it and to go and congratulate the other kids with a smile on your face. And most importantly, it takes a strong loser to move on and try again. Because that is life.

I don’t want to be the jackass parent that pickets elementary school student council elections, but bigger than that, I don’t want to raise the jackass kid who goes and does the same.

Life is full of loss. I’d venture to say that we all spend more of our lives dealing with loss than big wins. Things don’t work out how we plan them. Life isn’t fair. Things change.  Life moves fast. We’re constantly adjusting.

Who wins? It’s the kids who can adjust, the kids who can take their blows and get up again the next day, it’s the kids who thicken their skin enough to take on this big wild world, it’s the kids who know how to lose that win at life.

I want to raise that kid.


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Comments (8)

  1. Joanne Clark 07/18/2016 at 3:42 pm

    Derek you don’t get it you are like the man who had to get by the Yelp girl in the Grand Canyon!! She fell to her death because you just couldn’t wait! Gotta get to the front, to the front! I can’t be in the back I’m a loser. It is in everything it is ridiculous. Wanting to be a winner is not a need if it is then you have esteem problems and need to look elsewhere! The article was not sexist don’t be so paranoid about winning just because your a “MAN”!

  2. Derck Birdwell 12/02/2015 at 10:21 pm

    Spoken like a typical woman. Women don’t tend to understand the male need (yes, NEED) to do and achieve and conquer. Losing doesn’t fill a man’s soul no matter how much sugar you put on it.

    “Show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser.”
    – Vince Lombardi

    “Discontent is the first necessity of progress.”
    – Thomas Edison

    Do you want to raise a content, mediocre loser or a discontented, driven go-getter? I’ll raise a go-getter, not a loser. That said, grade school elections should not even be allowed. The don’t teach anything valuable since they are just popularity contests. Glorifying popularity over character is not the culture we should be ok with sending our kids into.

    • Tyrone 05/22/2016 at 10:07 pm

      Losing doesn’t sit well, I’m a guy, I get that. Losing does not sit well. But the kid still has to learn how to lose. You lose, you learn, you do better, and you don’t lose again. But they have to learn that they aren’t going to win everything, so they can then learn how to take it like a boss, and not be a bitch about it (I apologise for the swearing, just feels like the shortest and easiest way to say it).

  3. Allison White 11/27/2015 at 10:41 am

    Well said! Thank you-I’m an elementary school principal and mom of two daughters-now high school age. One of those girls ran for student council in elementary school and lost. As a senior in high school, she is ASB President. I use her story all the time as I gather all student council candidates at my school to announce the new officers. I always tell my students that they have succeeded in being willing to take a risk by running. The key take away I always want them to have is that we can all be leaders by stepping up and helping out or taking initiative to solve a problem. They don’t need to be elected to anything to do that. It’s ok to cry or feel disappointed that you lost, but then it’s time to move on. Anyway, thanks for the great post!

  4. Pingback: The One Sentence That Gets My Kids to Take Responsibility - TodaysMama

  5. Cath 10/12/2015 at 2:11 am

    My 6th grader ran for student council. He practised his speech, which basically said “Vote for me because I am reliable, friendly, and I have cupcakes”. I pointed out that he did not, in fact, have cupcakes. He replied, “They don’t know that.” I think my boy may have a future in politics.

  6. MaryJo Greco 05/28/2015 at 9:00 am

    LOVE this article!!! Couldn’t agree more!!! Resilience is the real prize in life:)

  7. Rick Newton 05/21/2015 at 5:05 pm

    Awesome, well said. Nice to hear someone who “get’s it” when it comes to raising your kids!