Prize giving disappointment

By Enid Westerlund. 20 November 2022, 3:00PM

If you’ve studied hard this year, you will be lovingly rewarded. If not, you will get an earful, multiple lectures, maybe even a hiding and not as many shiny presents for Christmas. It all depends on the adults in your life and whether they reward well or differently from their own parents. Today is a either day of great mourning for Samoa or celebration. I’m writing this on Saturday but for me, it is a day of celebration regardless of the result.

Just making it to the finals alone, is enough for me. I am not a rugby fan or any sport, because I do not like losing. I don’t accept failure well. Once you put your heart out there, you only have a 50 per cent of winning. So, why play with statistics? There should be no draws in life. Period. We cannot all be winners and there must only be one. Isn’t this how we’ve been conditioned in life? Where there is only one top student, one champion?

Once you are at the top, you will forever chase that position, that feeling, that pride because everyone else is a loser and everyone is beneath you, second place? Well, the lessons through failure are worth learning. We all deal differently with disappointment and losing. Some will beat themselves up and want to go back in time, some will accept it and others are on the fence.

If your child does not receive a prize this year, please don’t beat them up. Most of us went through that, where second place is not good enough. There is tribulation and fear, what utter pressure for children! Sometimes it’s not about the achievement or wanting the best for our children but more to do with competition with other adults. It’s unfair on your child and certainly unfair to yourself.

This is the change we need today. We cannot parent like our grandparents. Those were different times. Look at the suicide rates these days? Samoa at the highest. We use all the good lessons from those times and do better for this generation. Hugging your child and telling them you love them despite the E and the F grades is not ‘soft’ or ignorant parenting. It is showing them that you will still love them through failures and disappointment, as long as they did their best. 

Why does achievement determine the level of love you have for your child? Achievement should be celebrated and rewarded but what about failure and disappointment? How do we deal with this?

How will you play that out this month? Will you tell your son or daughter that they are useless and can do better? Or would you encourage them to do better next time as long as they try their best? Everyone learns in different ways. We are not all academics or meant for medical or law schools. God has given us different talents so the world can be colourful and interesting.

Scripture provides inspiration for any runner. “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control So, run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we, an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly, I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

Self-control seems more important that winning the race to me. Remember that prize giving is also done in heaven. Those who will be rewarded are those that furthered the kingdom. Those who’ve treated their poor neighbours well and with kindness. If you forget everything else, remember that whoever you are competing against will not be there when you are sick, dying and dead.

It will not be the competitive adults in your life or colleagues. It will be your children whether they failed in school or become successful. It will be us standing next to our own parents at the hospital or on their deathbeds at home.

We will also cry and grieve for them. We will then bury them and soon it will be our own turn in the hospital, deathbed and the grave. Encourage your child to do better next time and they will. As we enjoy another peaceful Sunday Samoa, well done to our boys for taking us all to the top!


By Enid Westerlund. 20 November 2022, 3:00PM
Samoa Observer

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