"Every game that has a winner also has to have a loser," she said to my middle child after he had lost the match that knocked him out of third place.
My son looked at his shoes and nodded. I felt sorry for the little guy. He thinks he is the greatest tennis player in town and when met with defeat, he takes it to heart.
"I'm proud of you. You played a really good game, babe," I said, placing my arm around him.
"Every game you play is a learning experience and will prove to make you a stronger player," continued this wise woman I call "mom".
"If you won every game, you would learn nothing. It's the times that we fail that we gain the most knowledge. So, you see, we never fail at all unless we stop trying. As long as you're plugging away and learning, you'll always be a success!"
He looked up at her and finally smiled.
"Come on, let's go get you some lunch."
"Okay," he said and was back to himself, bounding to the car.
As we drove to the restaurant, I thought about myself at thirteen and I remembered that I did not recognize her wisdom at that tender age. I wondered if I ever listened when she gave me advice and how things might have turned out differently for me if I had.
Then it occurred to me that, had I listened to her, I probably would not have fallen as often or as hard and I would have missed many lessons that have made me who I am. I put my arms around her and gave her a long hug.
"What was that for?" she asked.
"Just for being so smart. You have always been there to encourage me when I thought the world was about to end. I'm so glad that my children have you and sorry for the times I did not listen to you."
"Rebellion is just God's way of making it just a bit easier on parents when their children leave home. I remember having a very similar conversation with my mother when I was about your age. I suppose this is just what moms do."
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