It’s hard at times be on the outside looking in, watching our kids move through life and experience life, with different coaches and teachers. We want their lives to be perfect, each experience to be perfect. But there are always struggles (as well as good times) along the way. And isn’t that what life is all about?

There is a common saying among coaches, “You learn more from the losses.” Not only does this saying help buffer the pain of a loss on the court, I believe it is true. Just as it is true in life.

When times are tough and don’t go our way. We can either blame others and pout, or “pull up our bootstraps” and find out what needs to be done, move forward, and make a positive step in the right direction. As parents, it’s our job to help our kids learn this not-so-easy life skill.

My daughter isn’t crazy about her Math teacher. At the beginning of the year when I asked about her school day, she’d say, “It was terrible. I hate math.” As a parent that’s not fun to hear. What about the rest of the day? Nothing. Just the bitter taste of MATH stuck in her head. I wanted to get her a new math teacher, instead we talked about ways she could be successful in class, and try, at the very least, to endure and not dread it. We talked about how it was important to learn to have, at minimum, a good relationship with her math teacher, “You may have bosses or employees one day that you don’t get along with very well, but you’ll need to work with them.” She still doesn’t love math, but it doesn’t ruin her day.

My son is on a basketball team where he spends more time on the bench than he’s used to. I want to tell the coach to play him more, instead it’s a good lesson in working harder in practice, staying positive and being a supportive teammate. Recently he’s been outside, rain or shine, shooting hoops. (maybe partially to put off doing homework) When he’s in the game he’s hustling, and most important, when he’s on the bench, he cheers for his teammates and is focused on the game.

Being a parent is not easy, but I try to remind myself that I’m not here to make my kid’s lives perfect, I’m here to guide them, so they can thrive when I’m no longer by their side.