J2 Content – Perspectives

A varied collection of thoughts on education and parenting

When 4th Place is Better Than 1st Place

I’ve enjoyed 10 years of being my son’s idol. He wants to grow up and be the person I am: work at the same job, do the same activities, be the man I am.

So many of the choices he makes stand out to my wife and I as having “what would Dad do?” in them. We try to encourage him to be his own person, and I want nothing other than for him to make choices that will bring him happiness. I’d be lying, though, if I didn’t admit that I find it flattering how highly he regards me.

So, I was touched two years ago when Jay asked me if he could put a championship trophy I earned playing street hockey on the shelf with the two runner-up trophies he earned in his street hockey league. I still have the text he sent me the night my team won the championship stored on my phone:

Wow Dad thats great. Can I have your trophy please? ;) :) :) :O :)

He placed my trophy on his shelf, and proudly showed it to his friends when they came into his room. He shared his own trophies as well, but the pride in his voice was always evident when showing off my trophy.

This year we each played street hockey once again. My season ended first, with my team winning a second championship. We received another trophy, and I was surprised (but flattered) when my son asked me if he could have that one as well. “You can come and visit them anytime,” he told me.  For three months his shelf featured five nice sized trophies… his two runner up trophies, my two championship trophies, and a participation he earned for a roller hockey exhibition.

Well, Wednesday night was the awards ceremony for my son’s most recent street hockey season. The team had done better than expected but still finished in fourth place overall out of 7 teams. Unlike the runner-up trophies he’d earned in previous years, this consolation prize was the same trophy given to bottom five teams. It was a fraction of the size of the other trophies, had almost no detail… I expected to have to convince him to keep it.

On the way home from the awards ceremony, before I could address the topic, my son informed me “You can have your trophies back, Dad. I’m going to need room for this one and it’s getting crowded up there.”

I was so pleased that he valued his own accomplishment over mine. One of the (many) fears my wife and I have as we watch our kids grow up is that they will try too hard to please other people and lose their own identities and sense of self-worth in the process. I thanked my boy for having taken such good care of the trophies and asked him to help me find a good spot for them in my office.

“Make sure you leave room in case you win another next year!” he told me as we made the switch.

My boy is growing up, and if this is the kind of young man he’s growing into – I can’t complain at all.

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