There is a definite difference between winning and being a winner. We want our children to be successful. All of us as dads want them to “win”. However, if we take the time to think about it, we would rather our kids being viewed as “winners” by others. When it comes to competitions, your kids will win and lose. When it comes to life, there will be success and failure. The question is, what makes a kid a winner? I believe there are a few things that they must possess. These qualities take encouragement, nourishing, and correction in order to serve them best.
So what are these qualities? I believe that they are as follows:
- Knowing how to view and accept a loss.
- Having a no-quit attitude.
- Showing respect and compassion to others.
- Doing right, even if that means doing it alone.
I believe that all these qualities are founded in biblical teachings. This is why I believe that raising your children in association with the church is a win-win. It does not guarantee that they will always make the right decisions. Nor does this mean that they are better by association. So let’s look at these 4 sought after qualities a bit closer.
- Knowing how to view and accept a loss. Losses are necessary to appreciate victories. They also can be a motivation to practice more, invest time, to learn, and develop character. As a dad, rarely have I ever witnessed the character of kids being praised as a result of a win. It has been as a result of a mature response to struggles and hard times.
- Having a no-quit attitude. Celebrate every time your kid refuses to quit, despite the odds being against them. Tell them how proud of them you are. This reinforces something that is always in their control…effort and attitude. They cannot always control the end result, but they can always reproduce this trophy of character.
- Showing respect and compassion to others. This is a lesson that is invaluable. Applaud their efforts to be respectful. Celebrate when they help others and put them before their own needs. Start off requiring…yes requiring them to use sir and ma’am when addressing other adults. This develops a habit… a good one. Work together to find ways to serve and encourage others. This by default makes your kids “wanted” and chosen by others.
- Doing right, even if that means doing it alone. This is the most difficult quality to develop in any child. We all have a desire to be accepted, liked, and included by others. None of us want to be alone, rejected, or disliked. Because of this, children and many adults will do what is wrong to be accepted. More often than this, we will remain silent in the face of a moral dilemma. Individuals that develop the strength to stand alone or in opposition to bad speech or actions will grow much taller than their peers with regards to respect. However, this is difficult and rewards are many times delayed or even omitted. It becomes even a further establishment of character when confronted with the most mature expressions of this quality. Will you…will they do what is right when no one is looking? Will they go through the opposition or struggle if there is no reward. If this is developed, your child will be admired. They will be viewed as winners. This does not mean that they are the most popular. However, they will stand out because of their character. In the long run, this will get them much farther along in life.
Winners are not merely those that win all the time. I know that I was the proudest of my children when they demonstrated these 4 qualities. I did my best to celebrate and reinforce them as something that they always had control over. They can’t always get the win. They can, however, conduct themselves in a manner that places them apart from the crowd as special. Whether it be in a team competition or personal ambitions, they can be in control and be admired regardless of the outcome.
Failure to develop these qualities will leave you and your children unfulfilled. They will only know joy when the winds are with them. When they fail, they will associate that failure with their lack of ability and/or value. This, in turn, will develop the lifestyle controlled by outcomes and others. In other words, their joy and value is not something that they can claim as they could with the qualities discussed in this post.
Dads, you must start this early. This is so difficult, perhaps impossible to develop later in life. Start today. Show them how to develop these qualities. Show them how they can be “winners”. Be the best dad possible.