Nevertheless, Matt was determined to give Brody as much hand's on experience while making the car. They didn't need to make any fancy tank or spaceship or aircraft carrier out of the block of wood - their goal was to make it a sleek & fast car. They even traveled all the way up to Dallas to use PaPa's wood-working tools. And they had a great weekend making the car with PaPa....even sneaking in a boys movie and some pizza while they were there. Was it great bonding time for them? Yes - and that is what this is all about.
The next weekend was the race. For those of you with girls - this is the track. Two cars are set on top and released at the same time.
They go zooming down the track and the one that crosses the finish line first wins. They run tons of heats to determine a winner. Now, you'd think it would be a simple process to make a car go fast. Wrong - there is so much to do with the size of the wheels, how close they are to the car, the aerodynamincs of the car, and blah blah blah (this is where they lost me).
And we don't have the magic formula. You see the red car? That was Brody's. And unfortunately, he lost more races than won.
Here is his sweet sister trying to encourage him as he became more and more upset by the losses.
And here is his dad, equally puzzled by the performance of the red car.
As sad as I was to see all that hard work go into the car, I was fine with losing. Broday wasn't and as much as I tried to tell him that he did great, losing hurts but it's good to build character, it makes you try harder, etc.......it went in one ear and out the other.
Even Dad couldn't lift his spirits.
It is hard for an 8 year old (who has competition running in his blood) to accept losing. He was raised in a society where everyone gets a trophy for playing a season of soccer (even though they lost every game), everyone gets an award at school (even if we have to make it up - seriously - "Improvement in Science projects?"), and everyone gets a gift at the birthday parties (the goodie bags are outrageous y'all!!). We award mediocrity and not who truly is the best. We want everyone to feel fair in a competition. We want everyone to get a ribbon for participation.
I remember as a child NOT getting an award for Good Grades at the Assembly and it would make me work hard to ensure I got one the next time. I remember never getting a trophy for the sports I played and it made me want to perform better to try to earn one. Competition is what shaped me to create goals and strive hard to achieve them. Losing didn't make me go and sulk in a corner - it make me work harder.
I recognize that not every child wants to win the award and losing would have the opposite effect. However, I think we have created this problem. When Brody lost race after race, I could see his confidence slowly disappear, his shoulders slump, and his face get all set in knots. And that is ok to have that reaction as long as you do something with it.
Unfortunately, my buddy sulked for a few hours. And talking to him only made it worse. We let him be and a few hours later it was in the past.
This mom thinks Losing is a great thing. The less and less we reward mediocrity and really praise them for their hard work and determination, they will see that Losing is a character building moment. And try harder the next time. Cause you know they already have a plan on how to win the race next year!!