Lessons Learned…..and Missed

Lessons Learned

I picked Tater up from camp and as soon as she was buckled up and we were headed for the exit, I asked about her day at the Family Entertainment Center, which is Chuck E. Cheese Hell x a million. Just one of the reasons I LOVE Summer Camp; they take her there so I don’t have to.

“Well,” she started, “We didn’t get to bowl and we took lots of bathroom breaks.”

Hmmmm….I remember it a little differently that last, and only, time we were there. Perhaps summer camp is a little more structured than I realized. But hey, lots of bathroom breaks ARE pretty important….especially to this 52-year-old woman.

With a little more prodding, she got more excited and words started to flow fast and furious.

 “I played Air Hockey with Michael and Guess WHAT?”

“What, baby girl?”

“Well, we played Air Hockey and he won because he cheated!”

“I don’t think you can cheat in Air Hockey”, I said in that most assured, knowledgeable parent voice. “I mean, the puck either goes in or it doesn’t and you either hit it or you don’t.”

Nooooooo”, she adamantly explained, “He CHEATED because I wasn’t paying attention and he scored and then he won!”

“Oh. Well, maybe you should pay more attention.”

“No, he cheated because someone was calling my name to go do something else and I wasn’t looking so he cheated by scoring.”

And then it hit me.

Holy Shit, I forgot to teach her how to be a Good Sport.

I must have missed it when I was teaching her about mixing pink and red dresses with teal and purple tights, tying the perfect bow and how to apply just the right amount of deodorant. Maybe I skimmed over that part when we were learning how to play Monopoly, Crazy 8’s and Operation. I could have overlooked it when I was showing her how to crack an egg and stir the brownie batter so there were no lumps of dry mix, and the importance of clean hands and good pot holders.

Oh I KNOW! I skipped it because we were learning about Yes and No Ma’am and Sir and Please and Thank You.

See, here’s the thing….I’ve never played any sports. About the closest I ever came to actually PLAYING sports was that one semester in college when I took Tennis because I thought it would be an easy A and then I found out I had to actually PLAY tennis. (And I found out college isn’t exactly high school. Try explaining that you failed TENNIS!)

I was always picked last in dodge ball, softball, basketball, volleyball and pretty much any other game with a ball involved. I’m just not an athlete. Hell, I’m not even a player. And that is FINE with me. Mainly because there’s WAY too much sweating involved and it looks like a WHOLE lot of running happens in just about Every Sport I’ve EVER witnessed, so I’m good, thank you.

But for the love of ping-pong, I totally forgot to teach Tater about being a Good Sport. But I have the perfect chance RIGHT NOW!

“Baby Girl, you have to learn about being a Good Sport. Even if you lose, you need to congratulate the winner and say, ‘Good Game’. Then you’re being a Good Sport about losing.”

She was quiet for a minute, staring out the window. My hopes were she was thinking about how she acted and how she would act next time, sure in my mind that I had molded her little heart into a future act of kindness.

Her next words sealed my fate. “Oh and I played race cars. And Guess What? I beat Scotty ‘cause he dropped his coins and bent down to pick them up and when he wasn’t looking, I knocked his car off the track and I WON! Aren’t you happy I won, Sasha?”

So much to teach, so little time.


Thanks so much for reading what I write and hanging out with me.  If you love what I’ve written, I’d love it if you shared it.  You know…being a good sport about it and everything… 😉


  1. Some of the hardest lessons to learn because our instinct tells us to do whatever it takes to win and our society does as well. How easy it is to overlook those little things sometimes. But you’ll do great in bringing those lessons to life. I have no worries for Tater. xoxo, Robin


  2. I had to teach my son at the ripe ole age of 7 that, no matter the football coach just told you, it is NOT alright to cheat! Needless to say, at that young, impressionable age, OLD Mommy didn’t “know what I’m talking about cuz I never played football”! And now, at 15, Mom is cool and no longer OLD (of course I am just 47 lol), so I’m guessing I’ve done something right!


  3. How not to cheat. How to be a “good sport” “Do unto others..” One of the biggest lessons we need to learn. and hardest to try and teach. It’s not just a sports thing, but it usually starts out that way. We try to teach “don’t cheat”, then we smile and clap when they “win”.


    • Mary ~Such good points! And yep, it’s pretty dang hard to fit all this in, make sure they are listening and LEARNING it and then send them on their way…


  4. Oh to be young and innocent again! Seems like the perfect time to point out what she did was no different than what Michael did but Geesh….. Some days you don’t have the energy! She will get it in time, seems like she is learning the important things, because getting the perfect brownie batter consistency is a skill she will need forever. Sports is over rated and as long as you are not teaching her that every person that plays is a winner, every time they play your doing good! Keep teaching the good stuff the rest will work itself out. 🙂


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