Saturday, April 30, 2005

Is competition really healthy?

With baseball season in full swing, I find myself analyzing the pros and cons of competition. I admit that I am a competitive person, a trait which I've passed on to my son ten-fold. I think for the most part, competitiveness is something you're either born with or not. I've seen this in my classroom over the past 12 years and I've especially noticed this with my own children. Connor has been heard to say that competition is his life, while Michal Kate and Addie don't seem to have a competitive drive at all. Maybe it's years of having to compete with Connor on everything - - who can get buckled first, who can finish their breakfast first, who can brush their teeth first (in this case the winner is really the loser), etc. Connor is smart enough to only pick competitions in which he feels fairly confident that he'll succeed, so the girls have learned to become good losers over the years. Thankfully, now they rarely step into the ring with Connor anymore.

There are pros and cons to being competitive. Connor for instance has no interest in art, music, drama, etc., because no one keeps score. Instead he excels in grades and sports. My girls love art and music. They don't mind, or even seem to notice, if their soccer teams win or lose. Michal doesn't want to make bad grades, but she is also not shooting to make a 100 on every assignment either. Competition can bring out the best and the worst in people. So, my question is, how do we bring balance? I've told Connor that in every game half of the people there are going to win and half of them are going to lose and that on both sides there are great people regardless. Connor says he understands this, but deep down, I don't think he buys it. We've had many a conversation (and I'm preaching to myself as well), that no one wants to lose, but the nature of the game is that someone has to. It's okay to be upset or even mad about it (although there is no crying in baseball), but you still have to be a gracious loser. It's not easy for either of us. It's still a work in progress. If only I could somehow make it a "best loser competition" then I'd be onto something! Until then, I'd appreciate your prayers as we all try to be good sports and remember that it really is only a game.


Val said...

Not that there was any competition, but suffice it to say that you have won my heart.

Kendra said...

Oh, it was definitely a competition beginning with our Blue Haven days and continuing through ACU. But I won and that's all that matters so na na na na na na to all you losers out there!

See I told you I was competitive - even intense as some have called me!

Susan said...

I happen to know you inherited being competitive. Your brother is very competitive and so was your Dad. Look what it did for you two. You have each other, you are both great at everything you do and you have raised a wonderful family.