A week from tomorrow, on Election Day in America, there will winners and losers galore. Many people will be happy but just as many will be disappointed and upset. The same thing happens over and over (although certainly not with the same price tag) every day, every week. Countless contests flood the television channels, and prizes are awarded in our schools, in athletic events, in the arts world, and on the world stage, each declaring someone a winner and someone a loser. What values do you hold about competition? What lessons are we teaching our children, consciously or not, about how to interact with others when they are on the “other” side?
More than four decades after his death, the famous Green Bay Packer coach, Vince Lombardi, is one of America’s most recognized and remembered sports figures. I have been pondering the question of just how well are we doing at living up to his most famous credo–the one that says it’s not so important whether you win or lose, but how you play the game.
In my work with couples and families, no subject is out of bounds. Last week, I spoke to a family where the teenager stopped speaking to his parents because of what happened when they were watching one of the presidential debates. The mother, a staunch believer in her particular political party, was yelling at the television. She was calling one person a liar, a cheat and a scumbag. Her son asked the mom to be quiet so he could listen. A huge fight ensued that left everyone upset.
Does this sound familiar? How many households witnessed the same fireworks, or worse? Or perhaps during the World Series or the Super Bowl? It is one thing to be passionate …