Each Wednesday we take my daughter Emma to an Awana club at a church near were we live. She plays games, sings songs and learns Bible stories with other kids between the ages of 4 and 14.
Each year, on the final night of the season, the club hosts a wooden slot car competition. A month ahead of time, kids are sent home with a block of wood and four wheels. Together with their parents, each kid designs, cuts, paints and prepares their car. On the day of the big event cars are measured and weighed to ensure they meet competition specifications. Cars are then entered into speed and style competitions as they race down a track through a series of heats to determine the winners.
Last year, Emma and I designed and built a “Princess Car.” We painted it pink and completed it with figurings of her favorite disney princesses glued on top. The car was fast and she placed first among all the 4 year olds and second overall. She beating out all but 1 of the kids, even the teenagers! Let me say, I was one proud father.
This past week, the club hosted the season ending race for this year. This year’s car was blue vehicle carrying several members of the Paw Patrol. If you don’t have little kids that doesn’t mean anything, but in the Gianotti house it was a big deal.
I was worried about how she would respond this year if she didn’t win. As the competition began, it was clear that this year’s car was not as quick. In each heat she was finishing 2nd or 3rd. She made it to the round of 16 and was eliminated from the competition.
After being eliminated, without being prompted she said “I didn’t win, but I had fun!” Those comments made me more proud than her success the year before.
How many adults haven’t learned the lesson Emma learned at the Awana race last week? How many times do we get frustrated when we don’t win, get what we want or fall short of a goal? While success matters, and I certainly like to win… I want to be more like Emma. I want to work hard and do my absolute best. But in the end, I want to enjoy to journey and make the world around me a better place.