The Joy of Losing

I played a lot of chess yesterday during our family’s screen sabbath. My sons play with various levels of skill and concentration, but several times I had to contend with losing.

Contend is the wrong word – I had to experience the unmitigated joy of losing.

If you teach, your goal must be to see the ultimate success of those you teach. Whether it’s your kids, your students, or your colleagues, you must want them to succeed, and to succeed as fully as possible.

In a game, that means succeeding in beating their teacher. In debate class, you must want your students to out-argue you. In choir, it might mean their achieving autonomy, so that you can leave the stage during performance, or turn over the rehearsal to the ensemble.

If you aren’t motivated for that level of success, why? If I don’t enable my sons to get good enough to beat me, I am holding them back.

The joy of losing is the joy of knowing that your teaching has succeeded.