Last weekend our family attended the Native Sons and Daughters’ Pinewood Derby event. It was pretty exciting because this year our daughter and son each entered cars for the derby. And to add to the family fun the children’s grandfather, my father-in-law, assisted them with the making and designs of their cars. It was priceless watching the three of them together and the excitement on all of their faces as they completed the cars. The day before the derby I spoke with the children. I discussed how cool it was that they got to work on their cars with grandpa. What a great memory that will be and hopefully they can do the same next year. And if their car doesn’t place that they will always have the memories with grandpa and the excitement of simply being a part of a fun event with friends….basically a whole life is a journey not a destination type of speech.
So fast forward to the night of the Pinewood Derby and after they ran all the races and tallied up the scores I was surprised to hear that our son came in second place! He came in second place to our daughter who came in 1st!! I have to admit I was totally shocked…here I was preparing them for a loss, to look on the bright side, to take note of the memorable journey, and they won! I didn’t prepare them for that!
This situation, paired with the fact that our daughter is currently playing soccer and son will be starting t-ball, really had me thinking. The whole concept of keeping score/ winners and losers is it a ridiculous way to teach labeling from a young age, to harm a child’s self-esteem, or is there actually a valuable lesson to be learned? I mean, isn’t it important that we learn how to both win and lose graciously from a young age? Because let’s face it, in a lifetime there will times when someone is better than you and times when someone is worse. What if we used those times as lessons and learned from our mistakes, our weaknesses, from other’s strengths and victories?
So I went in search of some clarity, I Googled it! Here are just a few of many websites that beg….to keep score, or not to keep score, that is the question…..
“In my opinion, I think kids need to learn about winning and losing — even at a young age….skipping the scoreboard may end up making our kids less competitive and well…wimpy.” (source)
“We don’t think competition itself is unhealthy,” Van Auken says. “It’s how the parents deal with it. The kids deal with it just fine.”…… “Parents and coaches impose their values on children,” Engh says. “We’re the ones who create the standings and scoreboards. Do you really think kids would have world championships?” (source)
Life is full of wins and losses, and I don’t mean on the athletic field. If someone earns a promotion at work, that’s a win. If a promotion goes to someone else, that’s a loss. If someone falls in love and stays married for the rest of their life, that’s a win. If someone gets married and then has to get divorced, that’s a loss. My point is that I learned how to appropriately deal with a win that I earned, or a loss that I suffered because of my youth sports experience. (source)
What do you think? Should score be kept? Should there be winners and losers in youth sports and events?