We all know about non-competitive sports days and the growing trend in schools today to not celebrate the ‘winners’. Instead, each child should be recognised for taking part and ‘having a go’.
But is this really a healthy life lesson?
What about the real world?
No matter how much we try to shelter our kids throughout childhood, there’s a time when they will enter the ‘real world’. I’m not sure we’re doing our kids any favours by not teaching them a healthy sense of competition. You don’t get any recognition in adulthood for simply ‘competing’. You get recognition through dogged determination, hard work, and clear goal setting.
We should be teaching our kids that hard work pays off. That talent is a great gift. That skill can be honed and improved if you keep at it.
Not that simply taking part is enough to get a medal. Surely this only panders to the sense of entitlement that we speak of so much when referring to today’s ‘youth’. After all, what’s the point in trying hard if your efforts aren’t even recognised?
There’s is something for every child
Not every child is naturally good at sport. And yes, competitive sports days celebrate only the minority who happen to be naturally talented athletes. But why not give them their chance to shine?
Just like the academics get the chance to feel proud in the classroom, the musically gifted in the school assemblies and the budding actors in the school plays…There will always be those things we’re good at, and those we’re not so good at. Can we not celebrate the individual talents and achievements of each and every child?
Am I a pushy parent?
I personally think there’s a huge difference between being a pushy parent and being an encouraging one. Growing up, I remember my own mum always saying ‘If you try your best, that’s all that matters’. There was no pressure to achieve certain grades or become Head Girl at school…
But at certain points in my life, I’ve achieved things I’ve been proud of – those times when my best just happened to be good enough.
If I fail, then at least I know that I gave it my best shot, I don’t beat myself up about it because I ‘could’ve tried harder’…But those times throughout life when I’ve come out tops have been priceless.
And that’s really what it’s all about: Giving our kids their own chance to shine. Helping them to understand where their skills and talents lie…and teaching them that winning is always worth the effort.
Do you think that having a sense of competition is a healthy life lesson? Or do you agree in non-competitive sports days and activities at school?