Thursday, May 7, 2015

Grandma Knows Best

As an Early Childhood Education teacher, I spend a LOT of time helping my students navigate the waters of social interaction. We don’t come in to this world inherently knowing how to take turns or share or be patient and wait our turn. Thusly, I play games with my students. We play BINGO and Go Fish, and Sequence and many other games. The purpose of these games is twofold. Yes, they will learn math and literacy through the process of rolling dice and matching numbers and letters. That’s not the most important thing that they learn, though. They learn, through playing games, how to take their turn, how to be patient, and most importantly, that life isn’t fair. For every winner, there has to be a loser. That’s just the way it is.

Playing games with children always makes me think of my grandma. I come from a family of very competitive game players. Growing up we played card games every time there were at least three or four of us in the same room. Our favorite was, and is, a game called Michigan Rummy. It’s a progressive card game, requiring the players to make books and runs and pay strict attention to other players and their strategies. My grandma was, perhaps, the most competitive of all of us. When playing with just the kids, you’d think that maybe she’d go easy on us, let us win every once in a while, or, at the very least, maybe not try as hard. No, that wasn’t her way. She would say, “Life’s not fair. You win some, you lose some. Never, ever be a poor loser, but just as importantly, don’t be a poor winner.” She never apologized for beating us at gameplay. My grandma also did not abide spoil sports who gloated and preened after a win or who moped and whined after a loss. Instead, she taught us that to win is to be gracious and to lose is to try harder next time.

My grandma was a pretty classy lady. She was also a strong believer in God. Through her and her lessons to my cousins and me, I think that I carry on her legacy through my chosen profession as a teacher. I channel her every time I sit down and play a game with my students. Understanding that life is not fair, that things will not always go the way you want them to, is a challenging lesson to learn; just ask a four year old who has lost his third consecutive game of Hi-Ho Cherry-O. It’s much easier to lie down on the floor and scream it out for a few minutes than it is to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and try again. It’s a lesson that God wants us to understand though. The Bible says:

I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happens to them all. Ecclesiastes 9:11

I’ve had to turn to this Bible verse a lot lately. Certain events in my life haven’t gone just the way I planned and I sometimes just want to call it quits, stomp around and maybe yell a few choice words. I always hear my grandma’s voice in my head when I’m tempted to do so. I remember that I’m not always going to win, and that I must not be a poor loser. I just need to try harder. Thanks, Grandma.


Sara Godwin is the Assistant Director and Teacher at Apple Tree Christian Preschool and Kindergarten. She has two wonderful children, Rachel and Ian, a loving husband, Shawn, two awesome kitties, Lewis and Lucy, and a sweet dog, Minnie. She has been a member of BUMC for 10 years. She began at BUMC working in the Children’s Ministry, assisting with Sunday School before moving to the preschool. She also helps with Wacky Wednesday and is the self-described crazy lady who wears all sorts of costumes every year at VBS.

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