This morning, during our weekly co-op group for homeschoolers, my oldest daughter came running at me, tears streaming down her face, absolutely wailing.
Of course, my heart immediately broke for her, and started checking for whatever physical source of her pain could be. No broken limbs, no skinned knees, nothing could be found. And then I finally asked her what was wrong. She could barely get any words to come out of her mouth. I looked up and saw the parent that had been teaching my daughter's class standing in the doorway. I asked her what had happened....she responded that she would talk to me about it later but something happened in class that my daughter had a right to be upset about. And then she took off. And of course, this parent was not available to talk to for the rest of co-op. :(
So I asked my wailing child what had happened. And what she told me hurt my heart far worse than any physical injury that she could have on the outside. She told me that a boy in her class had cheated in every game that they had played, made fun of the younger children in the class, and had called my daughter names.....the most damaging of these names was : a loser.
Perhaps I may be sheltering my children too much, but one of the reasons that our family chose to homeschool was to avoid this particular type of behavior. We have tried very hard to teach our children the importance of playing fair, good sportsmanship, and respecting other people's feelings. What my own child was feeling today was the injustice of how sometimes this whole world works....no matter how good you are at something, there will always be someone better than you....and sometimes the way people obtain that stasis of being "the best" is by doing things unfairly. Cheating.
So, does that make my kid a loser? The lesson that I had to somehow get across to my hurting child was that winning isn't everything. Making the right choices in life is what it's about....following God's plan and living justly. Is that even something that you can teach a 6 year old? I know grown adults that don't understand this concept at all! I did the best I could today to talk her through what had happened...but the damage had already been done.
Now I am off to call this boy's mother.