A lot of things are different for our generation than they were for the generation our parents were born into. One of these many differences happens to be our opinions on "winning."

It seems a little vague, I know, but give me a chance to explain here. When our parents were children, there was no such thing as a participation award, and the phrase "Everybody's a winner" did not exist. Whether in a sport or competition, you either won or you lost. Sure, there were first place through whatever place, but those were just rankings.The winning team won the championship trophy, and medals or ribbons were awarded to those who won first.

Today, we live with the "Everybody's a winner" attitude, and I don't necessarily agree with that. The truth is, not everybody is a winner, and that is OK.

It may not always seem like it, but losing is just as important as winning. It's a lesson learned, a motivator.

People think that it hurts kids' feelings to lose or it's not fair for just one team to get the trophy, so we give everybody a trophy and stop declaring first place or a winner. Well, why would would we give the losing team the same credit as the team that won if they weren't as good? That, in my opinion, is not fair. Credit needs to be given to those who earned it.

How would you feel if someone with a 2.0 GPA got into the same Ivy league college that you did with a 4.23 GPA? Exactly. The whole point of competition is about having a winner and a loser. Believe it or not, competition is healthy for a person! It allows you to have a goal or achievement to try to reach, and it motivates you to do your best; it sets standards for greatness. If every kid or participant knew they would be getting a trophy or award, what reason would they have to try their best? In fact, not having winners or losers, if anything, is discouraging.

Raising a kid with the attitude that they're always going to be winner and that they can never lose sets them up for failure once they grow up and reality hits them. We all lose in life, and if you grew up not knowing what losing was, you are seriously going to get a wakeup call.

If you raise a kid without boundaries of winning or losing, what reason will they have to get motivated about something enough to go and reach for it? Damn near everything in life is a competition: i.e. applying to college, applying to a job, promotions, grades, sports, etc. The wrong thing to do is to try to protect your child's feelings by convincing them that they are invincible to losing. The right thing to do is to encourage them that if they want something, they have to work hard to get it, and that if they don't end up getting it, it's OK.

The thing to keep in mind here is that winning is great, and losing is NOT bad. I have learned some of my most valuable life lessons by losing, and one of the main things I have learned from losing is that it makes me motivated to try harder, be better, and push myself to new levels.

My parents raised me to see losing as something gained, not lost. Learning to cope with the reality that I can and will lose sometimes has shaped me into the person I am today. For example, losing isn't something I throw a tantrum over, I am not a "sore loser." However, all of you reading this right now know at least one person who is.

All anybody can ever ask of you is to do your best, and if you do your best and still lose, then get up and try again. You only truly lose when you stop trying.