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Monday Mom challenge: Are you a good sport?

Jen Klein is a New England-based technical writer and mother of three. When she isn't asking her kids to stop bickering, "caramelizing" the dinner or actively ignoring the dust bunnies under the couch, she enjoys knitting, gardening, pho...

Sportsmanship beyond the field

You talk a good game. At soccer, hockey and even Monopoly, you talk to your kids about being a good sport. You comfort and counsel your kids when they loose and cheer (sometimes in an appropriately measured way!) when they win. You are doing all the right things in teaching your kids about sportsmanship. But are you a good sport? Are you really?

Sportsmanship beyond the field

Teaching kids about being a good sport is important. You know that already. By some accounts, life is a game, and if that's true, then sportsmanship is critical in all aspects of life. As a mom, you've gotta have your game face on. A lot. Being a good sport and demonstrating good sportsmanship isn't just something you do on the playing field.

Beyond the playing field

Being a "good sport" is something that goes beyond the playing field. Or board game. It's day-to-day life. The way things go in the checkout line at the market, or the dynamic of the PTA meeting or negotiating the social dynamic of your neighborhood. It's understanding the bigger picture, the give and take of most things in life. And even if you are terrific about talking about sportsmanship with your kids in the context of sports, they need to see you working the concept every day in every way.

Life isn't fair

In the checkout line, at the PTA meeting or out in the neighborhood, it's what you already know and are trying to teach your kids: Life isn't fair. You give it your best and play with integrity, but sometimes things don't go your way. It sucks. It can be hard sometimes not to through the adult version of a temper tantrum. This doesn't mean you should be a pushover in all aspects of life -- there are times when it's right to push back! But it does mean learning to go forward graceful acceptance when things don't go your way.

The occasional tantrum

Okay, so maybe the occasional (minor) temper tantrum isn't the worst thing in the world. Because it does hurt when the game doesn't go your way. Feelings are real. And sometimes, especially when the game is life and it's more than a checkout line slight or some minor everyday thing, it is right to push back a little. Maybe make sure you're pushing back at a real issue, however.

Play with integrity

Whether it's sports, school or work, the lesson we all need to learn -- and keep learning -- is to play with integrity. Be prepared, give it your best -- and understand that sometimes the outcome won't go your way. It won't be fair. It's a hard lesson that adults have to keep learning, even while teaching it to our kids! For some of us, it can take a whole lifetime to get it down!

Being a good sport and demonstrating good sportsmanship isn't just something you do on the playing field. Teaching it to our kids -- and leaning it for ourselves -- is an ongoing process.

More Monday Mom Challenges

Monday Mom Challenge: Stop the snark
Monday Mom Challenge: Improve your communication skills
Monday Mom Challenge: Be grateful and appreciative

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