Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Spelling Bee

I had grand intentions of getting so much done today, I really did. But it just wasn't meant to be. I bet that I had six different things on the menu today. Oh well.

What I did do was to attend the Second Grade Spelling Bee at the Eldest's school. Guess who came in 2nd place in the entire second grade?

The bad thing is, his final word was juvenile. Well, that wasn't so bad really. I know adults that can't spell that word. What was bad was that he spelled his word correctly and the judges didn't hear it. To top it off, the word that the winner got: mountain. I'm sorry, but these two words are not even in the same league, in my opinion. However, the Eldest doesn't know it yet, but this is a blessing in disguise.

I figure this is an excellent lesson for him on how the world isn't fair and how not to get all caught up in it, so that's what we discussed on the way home. Funny thing is, I remember having a very similar incident happen to me in elementary school and we discussed that as well.

I love it when life delivers these lessons into my hands so that I can teach them more effectively. This is something that every child needs to learn early: that not everyone gets to win all the time and the quicker they learn this, the better. I hate the way people try and make things "fair" for the young kids where "everybody is a winner". The philosophy may look good on paper, but in reality I think today's society is setting up it's children to to hate themselves later in life when they do fail to achieve something. Sooner or later it will happen as an adult and they won't have those early experiences at losing to fall back on.

It's so tough to see that lesson driven home though. A bunch of these kids left the stage in tears. The tension was so thick up there and it was really hard to watch. It really wasn't a big deal, they won't be competing with anyone else. It's just preparation for the next couple of years of spelling bees. But, oh boy, were they nervous.
Yes, I want my children to succeed, but I want them to lose occasionally too, just to prepare them for life's little surprises later on in their adult lives. There's a reason the phrase "tough love" was coined. If more people indulged in a little tough love with their kids and let them lose sometimes, maybe some of those overachiever kids that make the news when they failed at something might have been able to adjust better.

EDITED: To correct my own spelling. How ironic is that? I misspelled overachiever. Wouldn't you just know it?