You know this whole American culture of win at all costs?
It’s got to go.
Our fellow humans are not our opponents and at some point we have to realize that sports is not a great analogy for life.
I’m not directing this at any one person.
Although Donald Trump is kind of the poster child of this whole King of the World movement. And doesn’t he constantly look like a five-year old with a bad case of pouty face? I would have sent him to his room in January and he’d still be there by our house rules, which are “Don’t come out until you can be nice.”
The other day I was trying to think of any great historical leaders who made their people or places better by maintaining their own personal superiority to everyone.
I came up blank.
I can think of lots of great historical leaders who made their people and places better by putting their people and places first. Or even better, their God first.
There may be a lesson for Americans in there somewhere. I don’t know. I’m not responsible for all of us. Only my people and places.
So for us, this has been the summer of Lose on Purpose.
Which does not apply when wearing a uniform (so my brother and Dana don’t have coronaries and die when they read this.)
What I mean is that my kids are going through that phase where they need to be right. Even when they’re wrong, which means it’s really about winning. After a Spring of listening to ridiculous “No, it’s not—Yes, it is” one day I lost my mind and yelled “DEAR GOD IN HEAVEN, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU???”
It was a rhetorical question. But God answered me:
They take after you.
And so they do.
I started thinking, What’s the hardest thing for me to do in a situation where I feel challenged?
The answer is—to let it go.
To choose not to take it personally, or to make it my mission to correct others. To let them be wrong. To let myself be wrong. To admit that I am not in charge of everyone.
And—because people who want to be right and win more than anything else really struggle with this—to always be truth-full.
Which is why Hillary would also still be in her room by our house rules.
I figured we could go cold turkey on this whole idea, hence the summer motto. It actually has two parts: Lose on Purpose. Lift others up instead of squashing them down.
Like every other piece of parenting, it’s a marathon slog, not a sprint. There have been moments of understanding, like when Gabe rode his sister’s pink bike so his friend wouldn’t have to.
And there have been afternoons where they’ve been banished to the basement to preserve their own lives and my sanity.
But I knew we were on the right track when, after watching Trump in a news conference the other day, Kate said “He needs to learn to lose on purpose.”
And then some.