Parents these days are so competitive. That includes me. We’ve been bombarded by the media with “winning is everything” slogans. We want our kids to win every spelling bee, singing contest and basketball game. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to win. We want our kids to always be motivated to win. But let’s not overlook the importance of our children’s attitude towards winning and towards their opponents.  They can have a mantle full of trophies but if they have lost the friends they’ve competed with because of their nasty attitude, then what is it really good for? Relationships are more important than trophies.

Below is a story that Janina’s Grade 5 Adviser shared with Paolo and me:

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Janina with her friends, Betthia, Sofia, Cleyanne and Aya

“Go Cleyanne!” Janina’s voice was heard across the room as her friend stepped in front. It was the elimination round for the Linggo ng Wika singing contest, where Janina was also one of the contestants. “You can do it!” she cheered again, a huge grin plastered on her face. Cleyanne sang the Ryan Cayabyab classic, Kay Ganda ng Ating Musika. Toward the end of her song, she committed a mistake and slumped back to her seat.

“You did great!” Janina whispered to her as she reached her seat.

“I was horrible!” Cleyanne replied. She covered her face with her hands and bowed her head low. Janina went over and patted her friend on the shoulder.

What really stood out during the competition was how great Janina was as a friend. Though she was also a contestant herself, she didn’t become consumed with her own performance; instead, she chose to show her all out support for her friend, giving her comfort and encouragement. She is a great performer, but I believe that she’s even a greater friend.

Janina won that singing competition. But I am even happier that she won the hearts of the people around her.


After the results were announced, I saw Janina hugging the winner. I wasn’t sure how Janina would react if her name wasn’t called because she wanted to win Playshop Idol 2010. She auditioned and became part of the final 3. She was so nervous and when she asked me for my last word of advice before the show started, I told her “Just be yourself and no matter what happens, you’ll always be the winner to us!” And as she walked away, she mumbled “You always say that mom…”

A big factor in helping our kids accept defeat is how we react as parents. Sometimes the bigger pressure comes from us and our kids are scared of letting us down. We need to be careful about the expecations we put on them. Janina was sad about not winning, and admittedly I was a bit too, but it helps to assure them that we love them unconditionally and that our love is not dependent on their performance. Let us be our kids’ #1 fans!
It is also good to remind them that “God works all things for the good of those who love Him.” (Rom 8:28) Ultimately God’s perfect will prevails over our kids’ lives.

Not winning doesn’t mean losing. It just means you have learned a better way to do it. It means knowing what not to do and what to work on. It means you can try again and give it another shot. The only time you fail is when you quit.

“There are no failures – just experiences and your reactions to them.”