This blog just won a competition for your attention. Not a big one but a competition just the same. Learning to compete properly is an important skill, too often ignored in too many parts of our society.
We and our schools too often teach our children that competition is bad and that there should be no winners and losers – Everyone gets a trophy, no one (Ha Ha) keeps score. This denies reality but many people and educators believe(have been taught wrongly) that competition is bad for all children, harmful to creativity and should not meaningfully exist in academics, athletics or schools until at least the high school level. When we take stances that indicate that there are no winners and no losers in our schools we fail to teach our young students and children the reality of life.
Virtually everything you have, you got through some variety of competition, your job, your house or apartment, your car, even your spouse if you have one, was gained through competition. When we fail to teach our children how to handle the joys of success and the trials of disappointment we set them up to be bad competitors for the rest of their lives. As adults their jobs, coworkers and life will hand them competitive joy and disappointment and they, because of the failings of our schools and ourselves, will have never learned how to handle either situation well. If we look we will see the results daily on the news, on ESPN, at your job and unfortunately sometimes in our homes.
It is time to let our children start competing again under controlled circumstances with good mentors so that they may learn how to accept as ABC television used to tell us. “The joy of victory and the agony of defeat,” as equal partners in the game of life.
A quote that used to be mentioned often as the foundation of all competition was originated in 1908 by Grantland Rice when he wrote,
“For when the One Great Scorer comes to write against your name, he writes – not that you won or lost – but how you played the Game.”
Too often now this philosophy seems to have been replaced by a “Win at all cost – all humility lost or whine, sulk and lie if you lose or tie.”
Where did kids learn to act like this? They learned it too young from watching the wrong narcissistic power tripping adults when those of us who know better failed to take the time to teach them otherwise.
©2011 Richard Safris