“Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.”
-Colossians 3:21 (NKJV)
Winning is a dirty word or concept in some circles, but I think that shouldn’t be the case. Perhaps shifting to seeing the world as full of win-win situations and opportunities as opposed to zero sum games. I am not advocating for handing out participation trophies or ignoring the reality that in many situations there are winners and losers. Rather, I think that we can each win, even when we lose a battle or argument, if we cultivate a mindset that is determined to take away a lesson from each encounter. As a father, it is easy to say no, to “win” by default by controlling and locking down a child’s behavior. The more difficult, and vastly more fruitful, thing to do is to take a loss so they can take a win. I may not want my child to behave in behavior X, but teaching them why X is something to avoid and offering an alternate activity or method for getting the desired result is a powerful technique for solving conflicts. Sometimes our children long to engage in perfectly acceptable behaviors that just don’t square with where we are in the moment. Stepping outside of ourselves and helping them to get what they want in a way that is acceptable to us is a win-win.