Last year was the first year my now 11 year old twins tried out for a travel team. They had been on a team for 2 years that prepped them for travel teams. When it came down to it only 2 boys from that prep team made travel and one of them was their best friend.
There were a million lessons learned that night and I have to say I was so proud of my boys for their handling of it.
Initially there is shock. That's how it goes. A few tears were shed, but ten minutes later they were excited about their new team, which the year before had taken a championship.
On the other end of the spectrum was their best friend who made that team and was equally as devastated that his friends hadn't. In a time when he should be celebrating his success, it was hard knowing that his friends' hearts were broken.
One of the hardest lessons, when you as a parent are hurting for your own kids, is to teach them to reach out to their friends who succeeded in making the teams they all tried out for, and genuinely congratulating them--and doing it unbiasedly. It's easy to say, "Congrats, but I should have been on that team. I worked harder than you." Teaching them to say, "Congratulations, you worked really hard for that position. You deserve it," goes a long way in giving that friend a pat on the back.
As a parent I could share that I'd been on both sides. I was one of two people cut from ALL volleyball teams in junior high school. I knew what it was like to have the teacher in charge come and check on you to make sure you were okay. You just weren't any good at that sport. But I also had a trophy I won that I never celebrated because the girl I was up against was a friend, and she came in last after thinking she was going to win. 20+ years later I still have the trophy, but when I look at it I think of her disappointment overshadowing my win.
It's hard to celebrate for your friends when you wanted what they got, but it's equally as hard to celebrate your success when your friends didn't get what you got. It's a vicious circle, but teaching them to be the bigger person and fill their hearts with joy for everyone's successes is more important. Tables turn minute to minute. At some point they'll be the ones on top and wouldn't it be nice if they could enjoy their success because they paved the way for others to be happy for them?