To throw or not to throw

Dear Grandparenting: My husband Mark is a good man and a good provider. We’ve been together 41 years and I’d do it all again. Mark was as happy as he gets on the day our grandson Tommy was born. Now he’s caught up in this competitive thing that really bothers me.

I’d always heard how Mark had a ball in his hands as a kid. Tommy is the same way. About a year ago they started to see who could toss the most tennis balls into a can from 10 feet away. Then they started tossing beanbags into a cornhole board. Wiffle ball came next. Now it’s some kind of miniature basketball thing. Games galore.

Here’s the thing — Mark wins every single time and likes it that way. I got worked up over it and told Mark to let that poor kid win occasionally. He says that’s not going to happen.

To his way of thinking, he’s teaching Tommy about life. As long as I’ve known Mark, he’s preached that nobody gives you anything in this life. You gotta earn it. I say enough already. At this rate, Tommy will get a big inferiority complex. Right? Alexis Carson, Knoxville, Tennessee

Dear Alexis: At first blush, your husband might seem a tad hardheaded. But for all we know, your grandson beats other kids his age, and welcomes a challenge. Perhaps the games are getting closer, and your grandson is about to turn the tables.

What we have here is the old “nature versus nurture” argument. On the one hand, there’s the “builds character” line of reasoning, those convinced children must learn to cope with adversity.

Others argue that winning generates confidence, that which you can never get enough of, because it’s a rough world out there.

We’re somewhere in the middle, but more inclined to “throw” a game and lose intentionally without letting on. Because as things stand now, this imbalance seems to satisfy the needs of the grandfather a whole lot more than the grandson.

Grand remark of the week

Margie Sims from The Villages, Florida weighed in with remarks from grandson Max between bites of the German chocolate birthday cake she made for the occasion:

“I am so happy to be six years old. I have to let this sink in. I’ve never been this old before, you know.”

Tom and Dee and Cousin Key

Dee and Tom, married more than 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 27454, Towson, MD, 21285. Call 410-963-4426.