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Welcome to The Daily Kind, where we help you stay inspired to raise humans ready for anything.

I'm Kirk Wheeler, it's February 24th, 2021. I'm so glad you're here.

When you've been working on something for awhile, like we have with this idea of failure as a seed, it can be a helpful exercise to try and consider the opposite or to invert the question. What could success be the seed of for instance. So I thought about this exact question today, and I'd like to make the case that it could be the seed of empathy, if we're willing to let it.

“The only way to prove you’re a good sport is to lose.” -Ernie Banks


How did the sound of that crowd cheering feel to you? Did you imagine that you were the winner of this tennis match?

Did you feel the sting of defeat in that moment you lose? It was both after all, it just depended on what side of the net you were on, or in this case, what you've been thinking about lately. Or maybe you have some connection to the game of tennis and had a deep, emotional reaction.

I played tennis growing up and even tried out for the tennis team as a freshman in high school, but didn't make the cut and when I listened to this clip, the first thing that came to mind was both players walking up to the net and shaking hands. It's intended to be a gracious ending to someone's victory and someone else's defeat, but I'd like you to imagine for a moment, that you've won. You had the mental fortitude to persevere the long extended match that you had been training for your whole life. The mental game had just been won.

What is this huge success going to be the seed of for you? Your face on a box of Wheaties? Endorsements? Maybe a trip to Disneyland. Maybe all of these things, but it could also be the seed of empathy for your opponent. How we treat someone in their worst moment, speaks volumes about our character.

When we see this happen in any sport, we all lock onto it and celebrate the person who was able to demonstrate that deep character of winning gracefully. And when we witness the opposite, it becomes the headline of the next day. We all look at each other and shake our heads and can't believe someone would treat another person so poorly.

And when I describe it, it sounds easy, at least to me, to be the person who's gracious in that moment, but I know that's not true. I know that it can be harder than we imagine, and that it takes effort and awareness, to be a good sport.

So what's the take away (VO: 15 serving takeaway)  

How can you help the human as you are raising become more graceful winners? How can you remind them of the times when they've lost without diminishing their victories? Here's a question you might ask them to consider: When you lost, even if you were a good sport about it, what could someone have said to you that would have been meaningful? And then try to listen to their answer without judgment.

Maybe they speak some deep truth that can be quoted and put on a poster someday, or maybe they say that there's nothing anyone could have said. That might be true for them. We're not trying to see if they get the correct answer. This isn't a test.

What we are trying to do is build that muscle of empathy. We're trying to shift their perspective and we're trying to help them learn to consider the opposite.

Just for fun. I typed in "what is the opposite..." into Google to see what the first response would be. And "what is the opposite of red" is the first thing that came up for me. What comes up for you?  (The answer is green by the way.) Go. Stop.

I hope you find this helpful. Be sure to take care of yourself today, drink some water. And remember there is no perpetual parenting playbook. We're all learning as we go. And with curiosity is our map and a willingness to consider the opposite. We can be ready for anything.

So good luck today. You've got this. I'm rooting for you.

With gratitude,