Mario is a competitor. He wants to win. Always has. His grade school, Robert Louis Stevenson (RLS) is hosting a Yearbook contest. Kids from kindergarten through third grade are able to draw a picture and enter it into a contest to try to win the prize – having their picture grace the front cover of the 2014-15 yearbook.
Now, if this was the extent of the prize, he would likely have blown off the contest. But I believe you also win $25 (I told him this without verifying so $25 may be coming out of my pocket). Any contest where money is the prize automatically sucks Mario in.
He sat at the table and thought about what to draw. He wanted silence. He looked up Bobcat images on the computer (the school mascot). He began to draw. Frustration set in. Then muffled yells. Then tears. He gets so upset with himself when he doesn’t do something exactly as he sees it being done. He’s gotten a lot better at calming himself down and I find if I just talk in a soft voice to him, he starts to mellow. I had to do this a lot last night. He went to bed with half of the drawing done. I told him I was proud of him for trying his best. He told me he wanted to win the contest. I rubbed his head and told him to have sweet dreams.
I got up early this morning and slowly walked down the hall towards the steps to go for a run.
“Yeah, dude-man. What’s up?”
“Kiki is really good at drawing. I think she’s gonna win the contest.”
Seriously? He’s thinking about this when he first gets up? A sign of perseverance and determination or obsession with winning?! I told him that all he could do was give his all and just let things fall as they may.
When I got home tonight, he finished his drawing.
Not without some tears and screams. At one point, I was helping Ri with her multiplication exercise and I heard a muffled cry. I walked in the kitchen and he showed me where he drew with pen on his paper. He had tried to draw a bobcat and he did not like it.
“I can’t believe I used pen!”
“It’s ok, we can use white-out.” A glimmer of hope came over his face.
“I used it all”, shouted Maria from the other room. Mario plopped his head into his hands.
“We will buy some after we vote, dude-man. Why don’t you practice drawing the bobcat on another sheet and then you can feel comfortable drawing it on your paper.”
He drew an amazing bobcat on a separate sheet of paper. Then I had a great idea, which I usually never have when it comes to art. We cut out his bobcat and taped it over the one he messed up so that it almost looked 3-D. He loved it, and smiled as he stared at the finished product.
A win no matter what. Now we have to talk about winning … and possibly losing – gracefully. That could be a little tougher than the bobcat art.