“Momma I can’t let Sara win this time.”
“But Akira, she’s your best friend!”
“So what mumma? Last time she won the race, she was teasing me. This time I won’t let her tease me.”
“Ok darling, you have practiced a lot this time. Just focus on the hurdles and forget about winning or losing. It’s ok to lose. What matters is that, if you want something, you work hard for it and give your best. Rest everything will fall in its place on it’s own.”
“No mom I will win this time.”
“Ok, ok, fine..but if you lose, remember I will still be proud of you.”
“Ok bye mom, love you!”
“Bye love. Be careful.”
“Mom be there on time and tell dad he needs to cheer for me.”
How was I suppose to make my 7 years old daughter understand, that its ok to lose. You can’t always win. That its important to try, to work towards it and give your best shot, than to think about winning or losing. Hopefully she will understand when she grows up.
The race began. We all took our seats and started cheering with the rest of the parents.
It was a 300 metres hurdle race. Akira had practiced a lot and I was sure she will do good here. Even if she doesn’t win, she will do good.
Akira and Sara were almost running together. Sara was fast. Akira was trying hard to keep up. I knew, that in her mind, the race was not with the rest of the children, but with Sara.
There were moments when Sara was ahead and then Akira catched up and went ahead of her. Rest of the children were far behind. It was these two who were acing the race.
Last 80 metres were left when Sara lost her balance, on one of the hurdles and fell down. She was hurt in the knee. She tried to get up but couldn’t. Akira was a few feets ahead of Sara, when she heard her scream. She looked back and saw Sara bleeding on the track. Akira slowed down for a moment, but when she saw other children catching up, she resumed her race. She went forward a few feets but then suddenly she just stopped and came back to Sara, picked her up, moved away from the track, and made her sit on the grass just next to the racing track. None of the other children stopped. Just then there was a whistle. The race was over.
The teachers had reached the spot by then and had moved Sara, on a stretcher, to the medical room. Akira was with her all the time.
After the prize distribution was over I saw Akira sitting disappointed in a corner. She had tears in her eyes. I went close to her and hugged her.
“Mom I didn’t win. I am sorry.”
“Oh no my dear. You did win! You won everybody’s heart out there. What you did was amazing. I know how much you wanted to win and you could have, easily, but you gave up all that and stopped and helped Sara. I can’t be happier. Even though you lost the race, I am glad you learnt the most important thing, to be compassionate, to help people, to be kind. I can’t tell you how proud I am today.”
“When Sara fell down, I did not expect you to stop. I thought you will complete the race. But you proved me wrong and I am glad you did.”
“Life is not about winning or losing. Life is about what you have learned when all is said and done. This hurdle race doesn’t count my dear. What counts is how you run the race of your life, sometimes you will win, sometimes you will lose. But you need to keep going with an open heart and take the people around you with you. This race was not just a hurdle race, it was life, and how you face those hurdles, makes you who you are and I am glad you are a good person. ”
Life is a race and you can’t win alone.