“First one to ten wins,” I tell my four-year-old granddaughter.
We are seated beside the large, corner, picture windows facing the street. It’s a favourite spot of ours, and we spend hours contemplating nature, or playing “I Spy”. Today, she is counting white cars that drive by and I am counting red.
“There’s a white one!” she exclaims, jumping up and down on the couch. “I’m beating you by one.”
“You are! Eight to seven.” Is it wrong, I ask myself, that I am teaching my granddaughter to be competitive?
“First one to ten wins a prize,” she adds.
“Okay,” I respond, smiling warmly. I love how she brings such enthusiasm to the simplest of games, and amusingly notice how she always manages to work a treat in. Competition, I decide is a natural part of life.
“Another white one! And another. That’s ten!”
“Oh you beat me. What prize would you like?”
She thinks about it for a moment, her blue eyes studying my face for any signs of disappointment. “I know!” she beams. “How about we keep playing till we both have ten and then both of us can have a treat?”
Another white car drives by and I point it out.
“No Grandma,” she chides me. “We are only looking for red cars now.”
In a matter of minutes two red cars pass and she declares that we are both winners and can now claim our rewards. Playing along, I follow her into the kitchen, wondering what it is she has in mind.
Holding open the pantry door, she considers the options. “Do you have any gummy bears?”
“No gummy bears, just fruit snacks. Would you like a cookie?”
“Umm, no….you can’t eat that.” I am impressed. She sincerely wants me to share in the honours, and as she well knows, this Grandma doesn’t eat cookies (unless they are gluten free). She yanks open the freezer drawer and finds popsicles. “Here you go Grandma.”
We sit at the table, commenting on our chosen flavours and whether or not we lick or bite our frozen treats, all the while exchanging loving glances.
“I love you Grandma!” she tells me between bites.
“I love you, Sweetheart. Thanks for letting me be a winner too.”
She cocks her head to the side and grinning broadly gives me a thumbs up and I marvel at the lesson this little soul has just taught me about compassion and win-win.