You’ve Already Won


One of my children is a bit of a perfectionist. He likes to do things right the first time. But who doesn’t? Wouldn’t life be so much easier if things just came naturally? I mean, he’s got a point.

This is the same child that’s competing in the Math Olympiad. For the other kids in the group (there are 5 boys in total), the complex Algebraic multi-step equations seem to come easily. Or at least that’s how it seems.

So when my child comes home from practice meetings frustrated because he didn’t get all questions right, it breaks my heart.

We had a talk about his frustration this morning, because I could tell it was going to impact his day at school. I wanted him to get it off his chest.

The Math Olympiad is a VOLUNTARY competition. It isn’t for a grade, it isn’t life or death, unless you’re 10 years old and the kids around you make it FEEL like it is.

I pointed out to my son, that in the grand scheme of his future scholastic achievement, it really doesn’t matter how he does. For a moment, before his anxiety took hold again, I saw his face relax. It never occurred to him that this wasn’t a make or break situation.

He’s a really smart kid. He loves to learn, he excels in school, and I don’t want this competition to break his spirit.

These same kids that are in the competition with him are already talking about what college they’re going to, which has, in turn, gotten my son to think about it too. I love that! They are all talking about going to MIT together…they’re in 4th grade! I don’t even think I knew the names of any colleges when I was in 4th grade.

It’s a big lesson for a little person to learn. I really want to instill all those sayings that we hear over and over in our lives because THEY’RE TRUE: it isn’t whether you win or lose, it really is HOW you play the game, TRY YOUR BEST, and FINISH WHAT YOU START.

It’s about the journey, not about the destination.

I know it sounds hokey, but he’s ALREADY WON for even trying something that is out of his comfort zone.

Please feel free to leave any words of encouragement for him. I know he’d appreciate them.


5 thoughts on “You’ve Already Won

  1. This is the quote at the beginning of Brene Brown’s book Daring Greatly, and it’s basically changed my life. It’s long, but I think your sweet son could probably get down with a little Teddy Roosevelt, especially if he’s already talking MIT. 🙂

    “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” -Theodore Roosevelt, 1910

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Lisa, I really love your blog and I like this post SO much. What a great conversation to start with him. He is SO bright! To finish what you start isn’t hokey, it is the best life lesson there is. I needed to hear it today. Give him a big high five from me!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Meaghan. That means a lot. I will give him a high five. By the way, you’re braver than me to attach your blog to your FB. Most of my friends don’t even know I do this! LOL


  3. Lisa, your son is brave to step out of his comfort zone. I have one who sounds like he mirrors your young perfectionist. For them to dare greatly and risk possibly not doing as well as they think they should is such a brave thing for him to do! Your helping temper his perfectionistic standards is so wise (and so challenging!). Even when he makes mistakes, he’ll grow as a person and as a learner. Being perfect isn’t the goal . . . learning and growing through the process are the blessings. And I suspect he will find great blessing in his endeavor. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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