Don’t Tell Me I’m A Loser

by Catherine Hedge

Don't tell me I'm a Loser

Don’t tell me I’m a Loser

One of the saddest moments of my teaching career was when I heard a parent say in front of his child, “He’s just a loser.”  I’ll never forget the image of the boy dropping his chin to his chest and the tears hitting his shirt.  Of course, the teaching team and I came to his defense, but there was no way to erase those words from that child’s heart.  Nor is there any way as a parent to rewind time and smudge out the mistakes we make.  All we can do is our very best…even though that still isn’t good enough.

When my children were young and asked,”Why do I have to do this?”I usually took the time to explain, so they were agreeable.  But sometimes, I just answered, “It’s in the Mom’s Handbook.”  As they aged, both asked in secret, as if it were some big revelation,  “There really isn’t a Mom’s Handbook, is there?”  Of course, I feigned shock and disbelief.  Now it’s a family joke, but there were so many times I wished one did exist.  Until some genius finally does write it, we parents and significant adults stumble around, hoping our children know we love them even when they are the least lovable.

Even though I can now empathize better with that parent at the conference, I still ache for his son.  I wonder if he ever did find his way.  I’ve see too many children beaten down by life.  We never should have nor can we now waste any more children.  We have to stop before we spew the venom, “You’re just a Loser.”

For that boy and for the other Invisibles, I wrote the poem below.


By Catherine Hedge

Dec. 17, 1994

Don’t tell me I’m a loser

If you do, how can I win?

Just put your arms around me

Show me that you’re glad

 I’m in your world and livin’

You love me ’cause I’m me

Then I’ll reach the stars by tryin’

And run across the sea

I came home late last night

Your were waitin’ at the door

Doesn’t seem a thing I do

Is pleasin’ any more

You spit out your angry words

and I reply with mine

It’s no fun to come on home

when we’re fightin’ all the time

I’m hiding in my bedroom

and I look upon the wall

I see the plaster handprint

from when I was so small

“Dear Momy, how I lov yu”

Mother’s Day of years ago

Why did that good and gentle child

have to go and grow?

I’m so much more than homework

or dirty socks upon the floor

That’s all we ever talk about

I can’t reach you anymore

I know my voice is low now

and I’ve often made you cry

But there’s a scared and lonely boy

bottled up inside

I tell you I can’t wait to go

and be out on my own

I take dumb risks

and act real hard

to prove that I have grown

I see the hurt in your eyes

I mask the pain in mine

Yet, if you’ll just believe in me

I’ll get it right in time

Don’t tell me I’m a loser

If you do, how can I win?

Just put your arms around me

Show me that you’re glad

 I’m in your world and livin’

You love me ’cause I’m me

Then I’ll reach the stars by tryin’

And run across the sea


About Catherine Hedge

I am a writer and teacher mentor.
This entry was posted in Dogs, Education, Slice of life, Teaching, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Don’t Tell Me I’m A Loser

  1. Francie says:

    Fabulous… I do believe that should be the opening in your “Mom’s Handbook”.. you could do a beautiful Job writing that!!!

  2. Pingback: Don’t Tell Me I’m A Loser | Catherine Hedge, Author and Educator

  3. Char says:

    Heartwrenching & beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

  4. says:

    Thank You Kathy! I passed this on to our children and I pray that ugly words such as “Loser,” hurtful words will never past their lips.

    On a second note, My book “Fire at Midnight” is being published and hopefully out by no later than March.

    Best Regards your friend,


  5. Pingback: Let A Child Know: You are Limitless! | Pen In Hand

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