Cade absolutely HATES to lose. Okay, in all fairness, so do Ella, Yan, and I. So I guess it’s more accurate to simply say Cade CAN’T lose. I mean it really ruins his day. I love that he’s so competitive. In fact, I would worry if losing was no big deal to him. But I also worry that he has such trouble managing defeat. Life, after all, shows no mercy when beating us up and knocking us down.
Our family likes to play games together. They always start off so fun. But as soon as Cade suffers a setback be it losing a turn, having to go back a space, or even not getting the highest die roll, things deteriorate rapidly. I often find myself saying to him, “Games are supposed to be fun; if games just make you angry than we probably shouldn’t play.” That seems to help because he really does want to play.
Fast forward to Saturday as I was watching my beloved Chiefs (I was a Chiefs season ticket holder my 10 years in Kansas City and there is no team in the sporting world I’m more passionate about) play the Patriots in the playoffs. The Patriots are not only good at playing football, they are also good at cheating at football – or maybe not, since they’ve been caught cheating so many times. But either way, I knew the Chiefs were going to have a tough challenge in front of them.
And they did. The Chiefs were trailing late in the game and with time slipping away, so were my dreams of the Royals and Chiefs being back to back world champions. I became emotional. I yelled. I even swore. I was fixated on the television, absorbed in my own little world of pain. Then Cade’s voice broke through, “Daddy, football is supposed to be fun; if it just makes you angry you probably shouldn’t watch it.”
He didn’t say it with the sarcasm an adult might have laid in while pointing out my hypocrisy. No. He said it matter-of-factly and with genuine concern. The simple truth he recycled back to me pulled me right out of my funk. I couldn’t help but laugh at myself (and see clearly – for like the millionth time – that I am so often responsible for the behaviors I see in him) and hug him. I thanked him for his advice as I realized he really does listen to me. He internalizes what I say and can even apply it right back to me when appropriate to do so.
The Chiefs went on to lose the game but in the great scheme of things it did not matter. My son helped me get over it immediately and gain valuable perspective. I’m just not sure which one of us teaches the other more.