We all love winning. We all love winners.
Sometimes, however, we forget the difference between “winning” and “success”. Its vital when it comes to parenting. Are you bringing up a winner or are you bringing up a successful person. Be careful where you tread your path coz they are as different as heaven and hell!
Taking help from my favourite subject Maths- lets talk in the language of Venn diagrams.
Winning is a subset of success. But success is not a subset of winning.
My Marathi friends ask me, “Manjhe?” (Means what?)
Simply put it means winning is a part of being successful…a tiny small part. The larger picture is success.
As parents its crucial to focus on “Success” and not “winning”.
Taking inspiration from a recent poem recital I went for at my DD’s playschool, let me put forward a scenario. It’s a scenario all mothers will relate to I am sure.
3 year olds had to come on stage and recite a para of a poem that they had been practicing for in the past few days. Now no matter how many rehearsals you give these cute little kids, you can never predict how they will react or behave on the final day in front of a crowd.
As expected some kids refused to even come on stage at all, some came and said their lines and went off, some came but did not speak, some came and rocked the stage with their performance while there were some who did not speak in the first round but came back for a second (or third) try and finally delivered.
But more than the babies, I saw all sorts of parenting that day. Moms using all tactics to get their kids on stage. Some bribing with chocolate. Some angry. Some assuring. Yes, its disheartening if your kid just refuses to climb the stage. And I am sure moms reading my post would agree when I say that it would not qualify as the happiest day of their parenting life. Waiting with your phone cameras on video mode, eager about your kids’ performance and in the end getting nothing but a howling kid on camera or a terribly shy kid who just did not climb the stage! Not exactly the video you had planned to make viral on FB and wasapp! Right?
But as a society why are we so focused on winning? What about all the kids who finish second? Or who don’t rank at all?
From the beginning till the end, we are living a rat race. Finishing top of class. Getting a good rank in entrance exams. Bagging the gold on sports day. We, as a society, are always applauding the winners.
Nothing wrong with that. Really!
But in the hurry of brushing your child to come first, have you taught him to handle second rank? Or no rank at all?
“Is your child equipped to deal with failure?”
This is one golden sutra that distinguishes winning from success. A winner is happy when he wins. A successful person is happy even if he doesn’t.
You are not an entrance exam coaching class which is training your kids to get first rank!!
Remember, you are your kids’ parents. You are training them for handling life. They are bound to meet failure at some point or the other. They should know how to lose. How to finish second. That would be a successful person!
Just pick up the newspaper post some important result day like the CBSE board exams which score 16-18 year olds in India. I am shocked to read about 16 year old kids committing suicide if they fail, or even worse, if they don’t get a good rank! And this occurrence is becoming scarily rampant.
Are we so busy training our kids to succeed that we forget to train them to handle failure?
Are we so hell bent on our kids excelling in everything that we forget to train them to find peace in finishing second?
Are we so focused on bring up winners that we forget to applaud the “losers”?
And which losers actually? Will an education board or an institute (no matter how prestigious it is) tell me how much worth my baby is? Bloody hell not!
I am not saying to bring up lazy kids. Kids who don’t work hard coz its okay to lose.
I am just saying to bring up kids who enjoy the day- no matter how it turns out to be.
If they remember the whole poem, well and good. Applaud them thoroughly.
If they howl and scream- that’s also ok. Still applaud them. Probably all you need to do is make a mental note of what you could do differently to take the stage fright out of your toddler the next time. Prepare him at home about the big day. Talk to him about what he is feeling about the approaching stage performance day. What your concern should be is to deal with the fear your child was facing. Your concern should definitely not be why he was not the star!
Sometimes we get so caught up with the race we see around us that we forget one simple thing-
Parenting is not about teaching kids to succeed in the world, its to teach them to succeed in life.
Whether your kid will succeed in “world” terms of success, ie professional success, wealth, size of her mansion, number of cars etc will depend on her hard work, focus, caliber and luck. But if you, as parents, take care that he succeeds in terms of “life”, all other forms of success are bound to follow.