So this morning, things got off to a slow start, and with T out of town, I was down two helpful hands. In an attempt to both motivate the kids and have a bit of fun, I issued Morning Get Dressed Challenge: who can get dressed in the most handsome outfit? Both boys scurried off, trash-talking each other the entire time. "Don't look at me, Oliver! You can't see my outfit yet!"
"I'm NOT, Jack. Mom, where is my dinosaur shirt?"
Fast forward 5 minutes (Oliver) and another ten or twelve (Jack) and these visions are before me: Ol is clad in navy sweatpants -admittedly they are nicer looking sp's- the aforementioned dinosaur shirt, brightly colored socks and orange shoes; Jack is in dark jeans, chic brown boots, a plaid button down tucked in and a glen plaid flat derby cap. They both looked absolutely precious but in my opinion Jack looked more handsome, even though he later admitted that the hat was just a prop and he didn't actually intend to wear it. Clever!
"Who won?? Who won??"
I paused because just after I posed the challenge to them, I started to think about the subjectivity inherent, to some degree, in handsome (or any such word). Did I want to suggest that one of them was more handsome? Would the "loser" know I was only judging his outfit? On the flip side, today's tendency to let every child win all the time drives me batty and seems so short-sighted. People have got to know not only how to fail but also how to do so graciously and to see all the ways in which failure can be the greatest of learning opportunities.
I then started to tire of my mental dialogue, and really the boys did too because they just wanted to know who won, and so I decreed that they both won because they each gave me their best interpretation of what handsome meant to them. They each felt handsome, and that made me feel great.
What do you think? About this situation but also more generally about teaching children to both win and lose and how to have a healthy competitive spirit...