All parents want happiness for their children. That glowy, deep-down happiness that goes with a life of success and fulfillment. It’s really the goal of parenting.
In sports, it can seem like winning games is what creates happiness. But a game that’s been lost can offer more happiness to your child than a game that’s been won. How can that possibly be? The answer is in the pieces of the experience instead of the overall thing – the moments.
For a child, and in fact for any of us, the joy of life often comes with the joy of moments. Those moments are puzzled together to create a whole picture, but for the most part it’s the moments that make us feel good or terrible.
Even in the worst loss, there can be winning moments for each individual soccer player. Here are some example of winning moments to celebrate with your child:
- Scoring their first goal
- Making an awesome side tackle
- Connecting with their first head ball
- Connecting with their first bicycle kick
- Blocking a shot from the opposing team
- Having a grandparent/friend/teacher see them play
- Praise from their coach
- Praise from their parents
If your child’s team wins the game, but your child was sitting on the bench for 90% of play time, then it might not feel like they won anything at all. Participation in the game is what matters.
Though it’s the winning of the game that’s held up in most of sports as the be-all-end-all of what should be going on, that’s actually a very narrow metric for success that doesn’t have much to do with the complex nature of soccer.
Learn to celebrate both the wins and the winning moments with your child. Win or lose, you can always feel better about the outcome if you look for places during the game when you child made progress or did their part to support the team.