As a parent, we must adapt our parenting style often as our kids grow because we can’t possibly know what lies ahead. We have to be malleable and open to change.

However, there is one thing I’ve remained committed to since my son was born.

I will never let him win at sports.

As I’ve told him since he was a toddler, when he beats me he’ll know he has earned it.

Recently, there was a wonderful lesson with that.

We were playing mini-golf and decided to play an 18-hole “match play”. Match Play is a game where the lowest score wins the hole. The person who is up more holes than holes left wins the match.

Since I am right-handed, I turned around to play left-handed to make it more fair.

→ And fair it was.

My son won the first 4 holes. He was 4 up with 14 to play. I was a bit nervous

But, I could tell he tensed up a bit. He was thinking about winning way too early in the match.

As we finished 9 holes, I climbed back to square the match when he muttered in a defeating voice, “I’m going to lose now.”

It’s times like these we get to encounter teachable moments. I grabbed hold of the opportunity.

He and I talked about:

+ Thinking positively

+ Believing in our abilities

+ Playing hard until the end

+ Staying focused on the present

He got some real-time lessons about the importance of a positive mindset on our ability to perform.

Back-to-back hole-in-ones on the final 9 helped me win 2 & 1 but he made it competitive, that’s for sure.

Someday, he’ll beat me, he’s got that competitive fire in him but he has to learn to harness his energy when he’s in the moment.

It’s a lesson we can all learn from.