MasterPo says: This blog is about topics and issues that are of importance to me. I am not one of the countless blogging lemmings that are tripping over each other scurrying down the hill and off the cliff of blogging oblivion trying to write the greatest blog on the latest topic de'jour. Your comments are welcome.

April 17, 2011

Of Winners, Losers, Money, and Children.

Recently MasterPo was watching a show with his eldest daughter on Nick Jr. The show was a cartoon with a group of children ‘space friends’ flying a magic spaceship in a spaceship race. Near the end of the show (and the race) this group of ‘space friends’ had to fly their ship through mountain tops and when they emerged they were in the lead to win the race.

But suddenly the driver kid of the spaceship turned it around, much to the surprise of the others in the ship.

When the other kids asked why he turned the ship around and not win the race he said quote:

“I don’t care about winning” – (astonished look from the other kiddies) - “ It’s not important to me. So long as I have fun flying through the mountains with my friends I’m happy.” (now smiles from the others)

What kind of feel-good touchy-feely BS is that to teach children?!

Winning is not important?! Striving to be the best and proving it doesn’t matter?! Gaining the REWARDS that come with being at the top aren’t worthwhile?!

MasterPo immediately told his daughter the show was wrong and that winning is the goal of a competition (if you don’t want to win then don’t enter the competition to begin with!). Hopefully this will sink in with her. MasterPo and Mrs. MasterPo have a lot of work ahead of them on this topic. But just stop and think about that: Winning – being the top, the best, the first, the #1 – isn’t as important as just having fun!

This is exactly the same kind of thinking that gets young people today to consider life is good working for $9/hr at Wendy’s so long as they can come back to their tiny apartment (which they share with 3-4 other slacker roommates) and play Xbox Live all night long! Or that consider lottery tickets a worthwhile “investment” but the idea of putting into an IRA or an S&P500 fund is too risky!

Someone is probably already pressing that COMMENT button to slam MasterPo for being “greedy” or “selfish” or “cut-throat”.

Since when is having the desire to win be any of those things? Since when is striving to be the best you can be wrong? And if being the best you can be means being better than someone else why in Heaven’s name shouldn’t you garner the benefits thereof??

Whether you like it or not there are real, tangible (and often financial) rewards for being a “winner”. Not just money and gifts per se but also opportunities for additional achievements, access to resources and information, etc that otherwise would not come no matter how much fun you had being a “loser”.

Further, the path to being a “winner” in life is rarely a singular event. In spite of TV game and reality shows the vast majority of “winners” worked long and hard all their life, saving and investing along the way. More than likely these people took steps very early on that was intended to come into importance years later. Sure, they could have taken it easy and cheaper back then but they knew most likely the day would come when whatever they did years back would now bear fruit. No guarantees either. That’s the concept of risk for which no “winner” can ever escape.

Perhaps their path to winning is also the continuation of their parents or even grandparents path too (e.g. an inheritance or continuing the family business). No crime in that (nor should it be!).

Being a “winner” is never evil or greedy. That is just rhetoric “losers” use to justify their own short comings rather than accept the reality that someone was better than they were at some contest or task.

The end does not justify the means (albeit depending what the circumstances are). But within the boundary of the norms for the given situation having a “winner” and a “loser” is normal and natural.

Consider it a teachable moment.

1 comment:

Grace. said...

Hmm--I'm guessing if there was not already a Mrs. Po, you'd be proposing to Amy Chua!

I'm not going to comment further because I both agree and disagree with you. Maybe I'll just write my own book! :)