Last weekend I ran (walked) a 5k race with my 4-year old. Once he realized that the race didn’t end at Dairy Queen he started crying. This quickly devolved to the point where he pointed to everyone ahead of us and yelled “They’re cheaters!! They are all FAST CHEATERS!”
I was pissed.
We walked back to the starting line talking about the importance of trying .We discussed that he isn’t going to win every time, no one does. I thought we had an understanding, a good talk, valuable life lesson. Pat on the back, well played, Mom. Wrong.
We got to the end of the race and he started yelling about cheaters again after he saw the racers got medals. Awesome. We hit the high points again. We talked once more before nap. We talked at dinner. His dad talked to him. We will continue to have this conversation again and again until he gets the concept of losing graciously. I will suck it up whenever I lose, because I know he is watching my every move.
Tomorrow it’s election day in the United States. We have had a hotly contested, dichotomous and divisive race. We will have winners and losers tomorrow. It will sting. It will be celebratory. It will still be divisive.
Some lovely, albeit naive, people are talking about how great it will be when the election is over. I fear that it won’t be. We are not a nation that loses graciously. We give out medals to all in order to avoid it. We blame it on other people. “It was THEIR fault.” “It was rigged.” “The (teacher, boss, supervisor, colleague) doesn’t like me.”
I really, really don’t want to debate the merits or weaknesses of anyone in any race at this point. Let’s just get mentally ready that there will be winners and losers tomorrow. If your candidates win, please don’t be obnoxious. If your candidates lose, please don’t be obnoxious. Remember, the preschoolers are watching. Let’s try and set a good example for them.
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