Why losing is ok

Kids are so funny to watch. They learn all these behaviors they see in adults and have no real idea the concepts behind them..

When I volunteer the kids move through literacy center. My center is a free choice area. They have roughly 5 activities they can choose from.

Lately I’ve been playing at least 10 rounds of memory a day….

I played with two little girls. One right away said that she never loses when she plays memory at home. In adult speak that means: My parents let me win every time so I now have an unrealistic view of my capabilities to play this game and will lose my mind if I don’t win.

There were about 15 words to match. Easy enough right? When I play with my kids at home I give them a curve like in golf. I only halfheartedly try a few times but then depending on the accuracy my kids are showing I kick it up a notch. This tends to work well with my kids. There’s usually not much of a fuss when one loses. In fact sometimes they tag team against me and I’m the one being challenged..

The “I never lose” girl never paid attention. Even to her own cards as she flipped them. In fact she kept flipping the same cards over and over again.I tried being patient and reminding her to watch the cards so she could remember where they were. Even one of the teacher’s aides told her to keep an eye on the cards…. I was right before the girl and I even tried helping her out. But it just wasn’t registering with her.

The other little girl was SHARP. She must have some x-ray vision or something because she slaughtered us mercilessly. <~ I’m proud that this is one of the girls my daughter plays with. Smart girls need to stick together…

Especially when as a result the “I never lose girl” ended up with 1 match to the smart girl’s 8 and my 6.

This set the first girl off, as she was not accustomed to losing. I was the meanest adult in the world and the other girl was not her friend at ALL. Eventually she calmed down but boy did I get mean mugged the rest of the day.



To me: This is one of the main reasons why SOME children have an inability to work hard and expect things handed to them.. because some parents can’t face the idea of their children losing. It’s hard as  a parent to watch your child fail… but it’s vital

She lost because she was so unprepared to realize that she was in a competition with this other girl. Yeah.. simple game of memory… but what is a game but a mild healthy form of competition between friends? Games like that challenge you to work hard and concentrate to get matches.


My children lose. But they also win more than they lose because they LEARN from why they lost. The girl was so upset by the situation that she was completely unable to accept responsibility for why she lost. And that means the whole learning experience that she could have gained from the situation is lost on her. <~ That is the bigger loss.

My kids are great about celebrating the win of each other. They have learned to accept defeat gracefully and to continue to give their all the next time around. One defeat does not make a loser.. They are told in the martial arts that the only defeat is when you give up. That doesn’t mean you won’t lose. Every winner gets knocked down, but you can’t win if you never get back up.

I am a firm believe that you will learn more from your falls than you will your wins.  A small loss like this game teaches you to strive to win in other areas.. It teaches you to work hard for what you want whether it’s winning a game like memory or eventually striving to get Thi Beta Kappa in college.  Watching your child being defeated it hard, but the reward will show later in life.




2 thoughts on “Why losing is ok

  1. I agree wholeheartedly. Especially that the bigger loss is the chance to learn and grow (how will she deal with failure in the future!) With my daughter, I also play “with a curve.” And I’ve taught her that’s important to be able to win graciously and lose graciously.

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