Originally Published 2007/01/08
I'd like y'all to set a spell while I tell you a story. I promise, it's all true, all the way through.
The other day, while my wife was at work and my young ones were on vacation from school, the three of us, bored without my wife to make the circle complete, went to the Santa Monica Pier as a way to kill time and cheer ourselves up. Aside from a breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean, the Santa Monica Pier contains rides and carnival-style games of skill. One of them was a ring toss. If you can picture it, there were about two dozen glass bottles laid out in a grid, and the object of the game was to toss a small plastic ring onto the top of one of the bottles.
I told both my kids, 11 and 14, that the bigger the prize, the more difficult it would be to win, and the ring toss had, by far, the biggest prizes on the entire pier. Huge stuffed frogs, green with envy at our ability to eat delicious funnel cakes, filled the walls of the ring toss stall. I pointed out their huge size, and the impossibility of winning one. Still, my kids wanted to try. So I shelled out enough for two buckets of rings, and the two of them set out to land a ring on a bottle neck.
Sure enough, wouldn't you know it, my tweenie Noelle, who sees that nothing is impossible, landed a ringer in about 20 seconds! That's her in the picture above, next to her prize.
Here's where we get to the parenting section: My son, age 15, turned to me and asked for more money for a second bucket of rings, determined to win a similar prize. Now, my daughter is always in my son's shadow, as he's older. So I pulled my son to the side and said: Give her the victory. Let it go.
He frowned, and started to argue a bit, but I explained the situation, how, because of his age, he is better than her at most things. So when she scores a victory, he shouldn't try to snatch it away from her. He should honor her by complimenting her skills, by being sweet and respectful. My son, the mensch, nodded, turned to his sister (and the biggest stuffed dog I have ever had to lug across a parking lot), smiled, and said "Way to go, Noe!"...
My point with this story is two-fold. One, finally, a victory with my son's battle to outdo his sister at everything, and Two, isn't that the hugest stuffie you've ever seen?!?
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