What I learned from BIGGEST LOSER last night.

What I learned from BIGGEST LOSER last night.

What I learned from the BIGGEST LOSER last night.

I’ll admit it. I’m a Biggest Loser fan.

I’ll also admit that when I first heard about the show and the title… I bristled. But after watching it over the past few years, I’ve gotten behind its mission and its heart.

I’ve not written about the show much… but last night’s episode lit me up.

Sure… there were some amazing and inspiring stories of the contestants pushing through barriers to find out more about themselves. And yes… there were some funny moments… including Jillian’s threats of pushing everyone to the point of puking! But the thing that stood out to me about last night’s show was the story of the various parents and their role in helping their kids to live out their dreams. (In this case, the dream to stay on “the ranch” and lose the weight.)

If you’ve been watching, then you know that this season is a “couples” season.

So, contestants came on the show two by two. Some of those couples were friends or siblings, some were husbands and wives and some were parents and kids.

Well, it’s week 8 and the competition to stay on campus is getting tighter and tighter.

As a result, each team comes up with a different strategy to address that each week. And I have to say that the parents took two wildly different approaches last night and I think it’s something that we can all learn from… especially when it comes to holding our kids (or anyone) as capable!

On one team… a few of the parents decided that their team was probably going to loose the weigh in… they told the group that… and then they took it upon themselves to actually gain weight in order to keep their kids (and the other younger contestants) on campus. They explained that it was a sacrifice they were willing to make to “save” the rest of the group.

That’s honorable… but it made me cringe a bit.

One parent on the other team… however… a guy I just love… named Moses… decided to focus on something else entirely. He decided to focus on winning. He decided to help his daughter to find out more about herself. He decided to encourage her and stretch her a bit.

This was a risk because she had really lost a lot of weight last week. Plus, she’s close to her goal weight, so it’s getting harder for her to lose big weight each week. But he was all about her finding out about her potential… and getting to see herself in a new light.

More importantly… he was all about holding her as capable.

So instead of sacrificing himself by gaining weight… he committed to getting up at 5 am each morning to work out with her in the gym… on their own.

Here’s the link to the show via Hulu. If you have the time, I’d suggest watching it. Just to see how it played out. If you do… watch how the various parent’s efforts impacted the kids.

Now… was the sacrificing move by the first set of parents gallant? Yes. Was it moving? Yes. Did it make the teams applaud? Yes.

But… what did it teach the kids?

It could have taught them to lay their life down for a friend (or their kid), which can be a wildly powerful thing. As a parent, I’d lay my life down for my boys in a New York minute. If you’re a parent, I bet you would too!

But what else did it teach them?

Well, it might have taught them to assess a situation and assume that they were going to lose. It could have taught them to look at their big dream and assume that they were going to fall short so they would need someone else to step in to “save” them. It might have taught them to assume the worst instead of digging in to fight for a different and better outcome.

Again, can I see the reasons for the parents doing what they did? Yes.

But… it made me pause.

Literally, I hit the pause button on our tv and I talked to our boys about the two different strategies.

I pointed out how the one set of parents were giving up. (Our oldest son called it “self-fulfilling prophecy.” Not bad for a 12-year old!) And how they were battening down the hatches and sacrificing themselves in the process. Then we talked about what that might be teaching the kids on the show.

But we also talked about how Moses and his daughter Kaylee were taking a risk. They could have played it safe and no one would have blamed them for it. But instead… they were digging in. They were digging deeper. They were finding out about themselves and they were rising to the challenge.

They were… holding Kaylee… as capable of doing so.

Kaylee as she achieved her goal! Just look at that smile!

And guess what?

The one team that predicted their own demise… were right. They’ve never turned in a lower percentage of weight loss.

Now, can I say that it was because of they decided on that outcome? Nope. But you could sure connect the dots.

But the other team… the one with Moses and his daughter Kaylee… do you know what happened? I bet you can guess.

They both had HUGE breakthroughs.

Yes… both Moses and Kaylee lost significant weight. But more importantly… you could see they had changed. They knew something different about themselves. They’d pushed. They’d stretched.

They’d proven they were fighters. They’d proven they could achieve great things.

They’d proven they were capable.

Do I have a lot of grace for the first set of parents? Absolutely. Do I have a ton of respect for Moses? You bet.

I just throw this out as an example.

It’s something to ponder as we parent and as we come along side people who are going after their big dreams. (As we manage others… as we lead others… as we befriend others…)

When we’re tempted to jump in and help someone else… that’s great. But we need to ask ourselves a question:

Are we holding them capable?

If you’re tempted to sacrifice yourself (or just jump in to help)… are you robbing that person of a chance to prove something to themselves?

Are you rushing to fix something that they might need to push through themselves?

Now… am I saying that you should never help someone? Heck no!

But think first.

  • Is there a way that I can come along side them in their journey… instead of “saving them?”
  • Is there a way that I can encourage them without taking away an opportunity for them to stretch and grow?
  • Is there a way that I can hold them as capable?

And as you act… think about what that might just teach them (and you) in the process.

That’s it.

That’s all for now.

I just had to get that out.

Keep dreaming BIG! (And keep helping others… just hold them as capable as you do!)


1 Comment
  • Tami
    Posted at 12:00h, 23 February Reply

    Thanks for writing about this, Mitch!

    As the parent of teenagers, I can tell you that my children learn a lot more when they have to face the reality of their choices. I can also tell you that the hardest thing I do is to allow that to happen…it’s akin to watching a train wreck in slow motion. My dream for my children is that they fulfill God’s plan in their lives. If I intervene and manipulate outcomes, then it’s my plan…and I’ve lived my plan–it’s not a pretty sight. One of the best lessons we can learn is that we aren’t the center of the universe…it is also one of the best lessons our children can learn.

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