Winning and Losing

 Galations 6:9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (NIV)

Three weeks ago, Jianne, our 5-year-old, attended her first Daily Vacation Bible School (DVBS) in our church. It was a 2-day affair with a culmination activity on the third day. During the culmination, the kids get to dance to the songs they learned for the past two days. Following the song and dance and video showing, the awarding ceremony followed. Awards were given to kids who were most attentive, most obedient and who were best in crafts. Two students from each grade level were awarded with a certificate and a toy. I was unaware that Jianne was anxiously waiting for her name to be called. Every time the awards were Prep were announced, she would sit at the edge of her chair getting ready to stand up. One of her seatmates got an award and she proudly showed it to Jianne. I think this really did it for her. After the awards were given, she looked at me with angry eyes. She blurted out, “I don’t want to attend this anymore. I don’t like it!” “Why?” I prodded knowing what the reason for her anger. I gently told her that it’s okay if she doesn’t get an award since it was her first time to join DVBS. She wouldn’t listen and was moping until the event was over.

When this little girl’s mood turns sour, it’s difficult to bring her back. Her Papa tried to console her but she just wouldn’t budge. As we exited the sanctuary, the kids were given loot bags and tumblers as souvenirs. Those were not enough to cheer her up. While in the car, her Papa and I explained to her that not all the time she will be receiving an award or prize for something she did. She did not listen and her face showed how disappointed she was.

We headed to the toy store afterwards to buy Coby’s gift from my mother. Mommy sent Coby money for his birthday and asked if we could just pick out the gift for him. I told Jianne that we would pick out a gift for Kuya and that I could her something simple (meaning cheap) because she did well on her first DVBS and danced well too. She said she did not want any thing but after much prodding she finally gave in. What child wouldn’t want any toy? So we got her something really simple and she was happy after that.

As construction worker

The following night, we got a set of Pick-Up-Sticks for the family. While the family was playing, I noticed that Jianne was getting frustrated again because she could not get any of the sticks on the floor. Every time she tries to pick up one, the other sticks would move. After a few tries, she just gave up. She stood up and walked out on us. We called her back and she was sulking. Her Papa and I, again, explained to her that she doesn’t always have to win the game. I told her it’s her first time to play Pick-Up-Sticks and it’s not easy to play it. I taught them some techniques on how to make sure the other sticks won’t move. I added that if she really wanted to be good at it, she has to practice and practice. The same thing she did in her ballet class. When she started her ballet lessons there were some steps that she found difficult to execute but because of practice she mastered the steps.

After that, almost every night, Jianne and I would play Pick-Up-Sticks together. She is getting the hang of it and she is getting more sticks now! The last game we played, I won but it didn’t bother her anymore. She was just happy to have gotten more sticks than in the previous games.

We would always tell the kids that in a game there would be winners and losers. Sometimes we’re the winners and at times we’re at the losing end. It feels good to win, of course, but more importantly is how you played the game. If we really gave our best and yet somebody else got the trophy, it disheartening but that’s how it is. We need to accept that. Maybe in another game, we will be winners too.

Philippians 2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. (NIV)

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