Who said ‘If it wasn’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all’?
My son’s been feeling very much like that these days.
Despite us continually singing Chumbawumba’s 1997 chartbuster ‘Tubthumping’ (“I get knocked down, but I get up again, You are never gonna keep me down…”) to the point where everyone groans every time one of us starts reciting it, the poor kid can’t seem to stay on his feet.
In the whole scheme of the world, none of it is really a big deal, but in the eyes and life of a second grader, it’s all big stuff. At least it feels that way for him anyway. He’s been sick, twice. Not COVID thankfully but a general cold hit him for a week or so, and then that stomach flu hit him even harder more recently. He injured one hand the very last day of the soccer season and then injured the other hand early on in the baseball season.
He falls down and he gets up again, just as Chumbawumba suggests, but then something knocks him back down and needless to say the poor kid is tired of it.
“Why me, Mom?” he asked one day. “Why is it always me?”
I don’t have any answers for that. At least none that’ll make him feel any better and it breaks my heart.
What makes matters worse is his younger sister seems to be the polar opposite in terms of luck these days, particularly when it comes to rugby.
This is my Kindergartener’s first year playing mini rugby with Cowichan’s famed Cowichan Rugby Club (AKA the Piggies) and not only is my little Piglet having a blast, but she seems to keep reaping some serious rewards. She’s come home after practice with a new t-shirt, a special kid-sized rugby ball and even a new Piggies water bottle.
If you know kids, if your sibling gets new stuff, it doesn’t matter what it is, you immediately claim that it isn’t fair. It could be new floss from the dentist and they’d be bitter one got it and the other didn’t. It’s a hard lesson for kids to learn that life’s not always fair.
More recently, my husband got a call from Rugby Canada telling him that our little Miss Piggy had effectively won the lottery and been selected from a large pool of rugby players presumably on Vancouver Island, to be a ball carrier during last weekend’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series women’s games in Victoria.
With the thrill of running the ball onto the field to start an official competition, she was also outfitted with a new sports kit so she looked official, and had her photo taken a bunch of times, and was generally made to feel important. It was truly the luck of the draw. We didn’t even know she was entering the selection pool when she signed up to play rugby this year.
So therein lies the difference between my two kids. These days one’s got all the luck and the other has none at all.
It was B.B. King’s 1967 classic ‘Born Under a Bad Sign’ that I remember the quote from. The song, written by William Bell and Booker T Jones, goes:
“Born under a bad sign
Been down since I begin to crawl
If it wasn’t for bad luck
You know I wouldn’t have no luck at all.”
The good news is that good luck can, in fact, be created and this is the tack we’re taking with our son. Sure, things outside of our control are going to happen. It’s inevitable. It’s how we respond to them that matters.
One difference between my daughter and my son is that the former puts herself out there and is willing to leave her comfort zone. She’s often rewarded for that in ways that our son, who prefers to linger much longer in his comfort zone, isn’t.
Another difference: one child is an optimist, the other… not so much. No doubt you can guess which is which.
Our goal is to have our children search for the positives in each situation, no matter how dire they seem.
To find something to be grateful for.
To know that for better or worse, this, too, shall pass.
In short, to create their own luck.
And we’ll keep singing Chumbawumba’s ‘Tubthumping’, too.
We’ll all get knocked down from time to time. Then we’ll get back up again.
We can either be cranky about the bruised knees, or we can be grateful for the extra exercise.
Sarah Simpson is a reporter with the Cowichan Valley Citizen.