Hard Lessons

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That kid right up there? He has major issues with not winning or being 1st in things. As in not placing 1st in the Pinewood Derby race that was held today for Cub Scouts.

I’m sure some of you know how much work some people put into their hand-made Pinewood Derby cars. There are entire sites dedicated to making them, tips for more speed, rules, you name it. This was Connor’s first car, and although I helped, we kept it very simple, cutting it out on the band-saw, rounding the edges a little, sanding and painting it. Connor’s car was kind of like the one in the picture, but not as fancy in the shape and he painted it himself, so the paint-job wasn’t so neat.


Holy cow – you’d think we were going to flush his fish down the toilet and squash his snail with the way he was carrying on! Never mind the fact that out of 30 cars, he came in 6th and won a ribbon over around 20 other kids! He was crying, stomping his feet, whining, griping…total meltdown.

Another Scout leader even tried to explain to Connor that most Tiger Scouts come in last, and that when he was a Cub Scout, he never even won a ribbon. Was not good enough for my normally sweet, reasonable little boy. Then he found out that we couldn’t bring his car home until after the District races – which I’m not even sure when they are – and the intensity and volume of his tantrum tripled. My eardrums were about to burst, and my last nerve was being shredded.

We left rather quickly – Kyle was borderline meltdown himself simply because of being in such a noisy place for so long – and I told Connor in pretty clear terms that what he was pulling was completely unacceptable.

Being first in line, winning everything…these are things we’ve been working on with him for a LONG time. I’m talking since preschool here people, and he’s 7 now.

On the way out to the truck, the tears were flowing, the feet were stomping, the demands were being made, the complaints were spewing forth as if from the top of a child-faced volcano, and I’d had enough.

I stopped him in the parking lot, told him that what he was doing was behaving like a baby, that not everyone can win every time, and that he was going to lie down in his room for an hour when we got home to think about his behavior. I also told him he was being a spoiled sport, and asked him how he thought it made me feel to see him behaving like that. I had already explained to him MANY times that he could try harder next year, that he should be happy that his car was faster than 24 other kids’ cars, and that he should be proud of himself and not pitching a fit. I even went so far as to ask him how he thought he’d feel if he’d come in last instead of 6th.

I decided to go to Dunkies on the way home to get myself a coffee and let Kyle sleep a little longer, as I knew he’d be wide awake once I took him out of the truck. Connor sat quietly in the back seat, the tears now drying on his cheeks as he calmed down and stopped crying.

By the time we got home, he apologized to me for his behavior and said he’s going to try much harder next year. He also said he was sorry for being a spoiled sport. I still made him lie down for a little while, hoping he would just relax and unwind, and Kyle and I joined him.

I really hope the lesson hit home this time, because honestly, this is a hard one for both of us.


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