posted by Joe Anaya on November 17th, 2014

As a parent, I’m thrilled that my kid has no trouble with self-esteem. He’s full of self-confidence. But I don’t think I can take any credit for it. It seems like he was born that way.

When he was 3-years old, we took him to Legoland. He was fascinated by the drivable racecar track. The cars looked like big Lego cars. The track was a small oval with an oval island in the middle. It was intended for little kids but even our three-year old was definitely on the young side.

So, we stood in line and watched the bumper-car shaped vehicles putt around the track a few times then everyone got off and the next wave got in their cars.

I was a little worried our wanna-be driver was too small, but mini-Dale Earnhardt Jr. was tall for his age, and the teenager running the ride was generous and okayed our boy driving the car. I’m pretty sure he regretted that act of kindness.

My wife and I watched anxiously from the sidelines. The ride started and my boy’s car didsn’t go anywhere. The teenager running the ride steps out and we can see him talking, then point to the pedal on the floor of the car. The car lurches, my son gets a big grin on his face. The kid jogs back to his station.

Now comprehending the purpose of the accelerator, my son slowly scuttles his car forward and arcs into the wall at a right angle. The teen jogs out and turns the steering wheel and pushes my son’s car off the wall.

My son immediately steps on the accelerator and arcs into the curb of the inside island. The kid jogs out, straightens the wheel, pushes the car out and jogs back. This happens a few more times as all the other cars are zipping around, lapping the road-block that was my son and the teen pushing him back onto the track.

Mercifully, the ride ends and all the cars come to a stop. As only first time parents can, my wife and I look on in horror. Something our son was so excited to do turns out to be a total failure. He didn’t get more than 15 feet from the starting line. Is he going to be crushed? Will he never want to try anything like that again? Should we have said, “No you’re too young?”

Our child looks around, sees people leaving and then shoves his little fists in the air touchdown-style and declares, “I win!”

My wife and I share a relieved look, then burst out laughing. I’m not sure what game he was playing, but clearly in his mind he was a winner. As long as his confidence never wavers, and if he keeps playing his game, I’m sure he’ll always feel like a winner.

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