#149 Winning

“You don’t always have to win.” I tell my son. “We can all win, sometimes.”

I’m not one of life’s natural winners. My little brother beat me at everything. Running. Tree climbing. Moaning. Badminton. Our epic back garden matches outdid Wimbledon in sheer drama. I should have dominated. I was taller, calmer, more skilled, slightly less ginger, but he always somehow snatched victory from the jaws of defeat using only his total determination to humiliate me.

Unlike me, my son has a powerful drive to win.

“I’m going to win the stairs!” He shouts as we climb the stairs. “I’m going to win at hugging!” He informs me as we go in for a hug.

“How?” I ask.

“I win!” He replies. “I’m going to win at singing this song.” He tells me as we prepare for yet another rendition of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.”

Like all winners, he not only has total commitment to winning, he makes up his own victory criteria. “How did you win at Twinkle Twinkle Little Star?” I ask.

“I finished it before you” he explains, or “I finished it after you.” depending on the prevailing facts. “So I win!”

It’s good to be a winner in life, I suppose. My slight worry, though, is that always having to win might, in the long run, make you a bit of a git to be around. Maybe I’m jealous because I’ve done a lot of losing, but something makes me want my son to lose a little bit and learn how to deal with it.

“I’m going to win this time.” I say. My son disagrees. We start the stair climb and I make sure I win. Not only that, I make sure his little sister beats him up the stairs too. Some cheating is involved.

At the top of the stairs, I wait for my son to learn the valuable lessen of not always winning. He glares at his sister, incensed. Then glares at me, doubly incensed. “Daddy won.” I say. “But it doesn’t matter.”

“Daddy didn’t win.” My son shakes his head darkly. Then his face changes. He smiles. “We all won!”

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