I’ve recently listened to a few of my colleagues talk about competition in the school environment and how both the schools that their kids attend don’t focus much on it. In fact, they seem to shy away from it with the attitude of everybody must do their best, well done to everybody who participated type thing instead of there being a clear winner who is celebrated at the end of the race or competition. One of the boys has even become shy about his achievements and doesn’t want to be singled out and made a fuss over when he’s done something well, even in their own home. Both my colleagues (one a mother of three boys, the other of two girls) feel that competition is healthy and plays a large part in making kids strive for success. I must admit, I feel the same way. Especially at the ages that their kids are!
So I’ve been wondering if humans are born with that competitive nature or if it’s something that you grow up learning as it’s
ingrained in you taught to you. I mean, who doesn’t like to win. Remember growing up and playing a board game with your parents – they’d almost always let you win right?! That’s until there were two kids…then the struggle was real! Who was better than the other!!
As young as Ethan is, I see it in him now. And while he doesn’t have older siblings or cousins around for him to compete with, there are the kids in the complex who are constantly fighting over whose turn it is, who came first, who’s better than the other. Now that Ethan has a baby brother, I see it even more clearly. Even though Riley can’t even walk yet or articulate himself, Ethan is already in full on competition with him. I must admit…I’ve already started using it to my advantage 😉
Case in point: Ethan is dilly dallying over eating dinner…nothing gets him eating quicker than telling him that Riley’s going to finish eating dinner before him. Boy child chows down like there’s no tomorrow! In a matter of seconds, his plate is clean and he wants to show Riley the clean plate and point out to him that he won 🙂
Another example: Ethan’s bath time shenanigans are enough to drive me to drink! While I’m undressing Riley (and the water’s getting colder by the minute especially being winter), Master Howe “Snr” wants to waltz around the bedroom checking himself out in the mirror, pulling funny faces and just generally doing anything but getting in the bath. A quick reminder that Riley’s going to get into the bath before him and his clothes are off before I can even finish my sentence.
Board and card games which we’ve only just started playing are another area where I see the competition rearing its ugly head. If Ethan doesn’t win, the sulking goes on for ever and a day! While I do believe in letting him win and enjoying being the winner, I don’t want him to think that he’ll always win! I also don’t want him sulking every time he loses. It’s a fine balance I guess and as he grows older, he’ll learn more about it – perhaps I’m just overthinking it?!