Dear KES Family:
Nobody competes with the intention of losing. In life, in sport, from Monopoly to Crazy Eights, everyone likes to win. So what do we do when we don’t win? What do we do with the emotional upset of losing? Do we blame the referee? The weather? The coach?
How we react when we lose or win defines us. It also teaches us. Time and time again I read research into resilience and anxiety, into coping skills and mental and emotional health, and time and time again I am reminded that losing not only makes us stronger but is essential to the well-being and development of our children. Life is full of set-backs and disappointments. Sometimes we don’t get the job we applied for, or receive the marks we are used to at university, or the return on our investments that we hoped for. Relationships break up (or down), flights get delayed and cancelled, disease and accidents are inevitable, and businesses frequently fail and/or let employees go. To prepare our children properly for life, we need to allow them to fail and to lose.
There is lots of research to show that exposure to germs at an early age, to literally play in the dirt, enhances our immune systems and strengthens our resistance to disease. The modern-day trend of sanitizing our children’s environment, or snow-plowing any obstacles in their way, of doing anything we can to keep them from being disappointed, does them a disservice.
Winning is tough. Even the best of teams cannot take victory for granted. A provincial title is elusive, and the honour of wearing KES “sleeves” is rare. I am over-joyed for the KES track and field athletes and coaches who returned to the School with a provincial banner last weekend. However, there were five other teams competing last weekend too. All of them did well but none came first. Seeing their reactions and hearing their stories fills me with equal pride. No matter how much we love to win and hate to lose, our students know how to savour the journey and appreciate each other. They bounce back with humour and a healthy perspective. Of them I am equally proud.