Playing to Lose

I had a friend over for my birthday last week. She usually comes over on Thursday afternoons, and last Thursday just happened to be my birthday, so we didn’t change anything. I love this friend dearly, but she can be quite intimidating, so I kowtow to her whenever she visits, just to keep the peace. Once, when she came over to color with me, she told me my crayons weren’t very good. I have to admit she was right. I only had eight of them, and they were the washable kind, so the colors weren’t very vibrant. So I bought a box of 48 Crayola crayons for her next visit. As we were coloring, I watched for any sign that these new crayons were acceptable. Finally, when no such sign was forthcoming, I said, “Did you notice I bought new crayons?” She nodded, but didn’t say a word. “I bought the box of 48 this time,” I continued. Without looking up from her coloring, she replied, “My grandma bought the box of 64.”

Thursday she brought over the card game “Go Fish,” and when she started to lose, she informed me that the first round was only a practice round so that I could get used to the rules. I took that to mean her rules. I learned quickly, and in the next round, I held my matching cards until she had set all her matching “books” down and was out of cards, thereby winning the game. I started to congratulate her, but she beat me to it.

Now don’t give me that nonsense that adults should not let children win because children need to learn that losing is part of life. Children get plenty of opportunities to experience losing. Besides, let their parents teach them that. Grandparents and sudo-grandparents should have the pleasure of seeing little faces light up with joy when they win. Besides, if you have a friend like my little four-year-old one, you’d be a fool to play to win.

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About Coming East

I am a writer, wife, mother, and grandmother who thinks you're never too old until you're dead. My inspiration is Grandma Moses who became a successful artist in her late 70's. If I don't do something pretty soon, though, I'll have to find someone older for inspiration.
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49 Responses to Playing to Lose

  1. Such a sweet post! Your friend sounds like a good one. And I agree–why force kids to experience losing before they need to?
    Karen

  2. 4 years old has got to be the most entertaining age on the planet! They will make you smile every single time without even trying. Thanks for sharing this wonderful encounter, I needed this smile today.

  3. E.C. says:

    You echo my thoughts exactly on letting children win. Good for you. I hope it’s a long time before your little friend has to deal with the realty of losing. πŸ™‚

  4. Jiawei says:

    In Shanghai, we have HUGE boxes of crayons, like over 100, the made-in-China kind, you know. Maybe next time I’ll get you a box so that you can impress your little friend?
    I agree that children need to learn losing is part of life. Guess he didn’t take that too well.

  5. Angeline M says:

    I played checkers with my nine year old grandson a few weeks ago, and he was so confident he was going to win (he usually does)….I cleaned his clock for the first time ever. He immediately went and asked his grandfather to play, and left me sitting by myself. I’ll ask him to color with me next time he comes over.

  6. You know you did have me going for awhile, though, because I do have an adult “friend” who acts like that too! LOL

  7. pattisj says:

    Oh, my, I almost hurt myself laughing as I read the comments. If the three of us have to share, you’d sure better get the box of 128! I don’t have to try to lose in games with the grandkids. They are a competitive bunch!

  8. Amy says:

    I remember the cute picture of her you posted last year. πŸ™‚

  9. shofar says:

    Our grand kids young to old thrive on our constant praises, that they are getting taller and smarter. They beat me at every thing already. I’ve been left behind a long time ago! Seems like it wasn’t that long ago when I played ‘Donkey’ with them. It’s like ‘Go Fish’ but the loser must say “hee haw” Play that one with your little friend!

  10. wonderful post! Next time spring for the largest box of crayons…. blow her mind!
    DAF

  11. I’ve got a tin full of crayolas, including the “retired” colors. Plus a box of the FAT 16. I love to color, with or without the grandkids.

  12. Al says:

    I play to win with my girls and still lose! What does that say about me?

  13. This reminds me of when my son was four and he always beat me at checkers (even sometimes when I tried). We met one of my old college friends for lunch one day (she was a high-powered attorney, me a stayhome writer/mom), and he turned to her and said: “My mom’s not very smart, I can beat her at checkers.” She pulled me aside after lunch and expressed her concern that my son would grow up not realizing how smart I was. I had to laugh… I mean anyone with kids knows that’s going to happen anyway πŸ˜‰

  14. lulu says:

    For a minute I was wondering why you call that person a friend. Now I get it. Four year olds can be a challenge and they do make their own rules.

  15. Happy Birthday and what a nice visit. My husband never let my sons win when he was teaching them chess, about 4 years old at the time. Within a year, they could sometimes beat him and one son took lessons and competed for a few years. It’s a tough call whether to let them win… I’m sure I’d want them to win!

    • Coming East says:

      Thanks, Cycling Mama. I think it’s different with parents. As a parent, I wasn’t as quick to let my children win, but as a grandparent, I loved letting my granddaughters win. My husband also didn’t let our boys win, or at least not very often, when he was teaching them chess. But that is a game of skill, not chance, so I think kids only get better if they play with someone who isn’t an easy mark. Then, when they finally win, it means something.

  16. I played Uno! with my kids yesterday and wouldn’t you know it but my daughter won nearly every time!

  17. Dianna says:

    I agree: you had me going! I always wanted one of those huge boxes of Crayola crayons….maybe I’ll go buy myself one now. Not sure what I’d do with them, though – other than look at them! Perhaps you, Patti & I could color at our next get-together! (I promise I’d let you win…!)

    • Coming East says:

      Thanks, Dianna. I need to win once in awhile. I know—I love looking at all the Crayola colors and I even like the way they smell. They have a lot of new names now, but I still remember my cornflower blue and burnt sienna of my youth. Maybe I’ll buy the three of us coloring books and we can sit at Barnes and Noble and color. Do you want a princess coloring book, or are you more into Barbie? LOL

  18. I love it! You can never have enough colours. πŸ™‚

  19. smile breathe and go slowly says:

    oh you had me going there…love the way you write lol

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