Yes, it has been a very long time since I’ve written anything. Sue me. Wait. Don’t. We live in an overly litigious society and some reader might just take me up on it. (At least hire my dad if you decide to proceed with formal charges.) Anyway, it’s been a while. And I know why.
The truth is we reached a point where K-Man has a routine. I have a routine. We all have a routine. Yes, the kid is incredibly cute and I could be writing posts about how funny he is. Or how cut he is. Or how his teachers just think he’s the bomb. I could be writing more about his adventures in SCUBA diving. Or our efforts to get him to use the potty (which are going somewhat well – knock on porcelain).
But, frankly, each time I sat down to write about these things, I found myself losing interest. And, if there’s one reason for me to write – anything – it’s because, at the very least, I’m interested (for f****sake!). Whether or not anyone reads this stuff, I figure it’s important that I care about the letters that appear on the screen. (That’s all part of living with passion, vision and authentically, I think.) Anyway(2), the last couple of days, K-Man has thrown me a bit of a curve ball.
It’s no secret that the kid likes his parks. Despite his recent transition to SCUBA diver from firefighter, he still enjoys sliding down poles and pretending there are fires. (The difference is that now he’s a SCUBA diver fighting the fires. Don’t ask. I don’t really get it, either. And that’s okay.) Just as he dramatically shifted to the wet suit from fire suit, this week he has started on a quest to conquer the monkey bars. With this quest came something new for K-Man: competitiveness.
I was hyper-competitive as a kid. (Probably well-beyond being a kid.) Everything was a competition. I had to win. I’m not sure that I was the best winner – or loser for that matter. (Which is probably more realistic as I was likely on the losing side more often.) If my team lost a game – I could become somewhat despondent.
One summer, when I was a camp counselor, I vividly remember two kids fighting over a point during a ping-pong game. They were on the verge of tearing each other’s 10-year old heads off when I intervened. It was a real moment for me as I realized how insane that level of competitiveness could be. Did these kids really need to try to kill each other over a point? That was pretty much it for the crazy competitive insanity for me.
As K-Man tried and tried and tried to get across the monkey bars, he became equally despondent. I realize that part of his anger at failing was based on frustration. He’s not old enough to understand that he can’t be expected to make it across the bars just yet. He’s not big enough to understand the physics of making it across (despite my sad attempts to explain it to him). And. He. Lost. His. Shite. Total collapse.
I felt so badly for him. Sure, he’s been frustrated before. Anytime he doesn’t get exactly what he wants he’s frustrated. But, this was different. This was competitive. Here was this activity that he thought he should be able to do. I could see that he was visualizing himself making from one side to the other. He’s start, get a few bars in and fall. Let the waterworks begin.
I keep thinking about these lessons that I want to teach the kid as he gets older. I’ve written about dreams and passion over and over. But, this competition thing is an important beast to wrangle. It’s key that he learn how to deal with the frustrations that come from losing and winning.
No. It’s not all about how you play the game. I think that’s as much bullshite as anything else. Losing sucks. Learning how to deal with that is what’s important. It’s all part of the ongoing lessons surrounding perspective. Of course, kids don’t understand what the hell that means. It took me my entire life to figure that out. I’ve got my work cut out for me.