Today, my kids participated in an Art Show. They displayed their own creative work. They stood in front of friends and strangers and explained their ideas and methods. Then, they were judged on their work. Winners were chosen in different categories. My children were not winners. And do you know what? They survived.
We did not give a medal to everyone for participation. That was scary. We did say that everyone’s work was great and unique but there were still winners and, by default, losers. My daughter was upset and I thought at one point she would start to cry. But she managed to keep it together. On the way to the car she brought up what I knew was on her mind. We talked about how she felt about not winning. I was more proud of her for that than if she had won and run around strutting. Believe me, she would have strutted.
I’m not sure how my son took it. He seemed fine with it. Then again, art isn’t his passion. Maybe when we have a Lego building contest or a Science Fair he will have to deal with the emotions of defeat. In the meantime, my little girl has talked out her feelings. I wanted her to know that she did her best. I let her know that art is subjective. I hope she continues to love art for the sake of art. I want making art and being artistic and using her creativity to continue to be a part of her.
What children don’t know is that it hurts mommies and daddies just as much as the kids when we see our little ones lose something important to them. It was important to her and I hurt for her. I was there to hug her. Her dad hugged her so hard. She put a lot of effort into her work. It was her masterpiece. It won’t be her last masterpiece. She has a lot of creativity in her. I’m excited to see her next work. However, it was important for her to lose.
It’s a cruel world out there. She won’t always win the Art Fairs of life. I need her to know it’s not the end of the world. I need her to know that she is loved. This is a lesson on doing her best and that doing better next time may be enough or it may not be but it’s necessary. This is a safe place to lose. The first place that losing means something. I’m glad that there are still places where winning and losing exist. It’s rare nowadays. I’m a believer in winners and losers. Let’s not hide from it. Let’s embrace it.