…..”I don’t know anything that builds the will to win better than competitive sports” and I tend to believe with him, which may be a little bit controversial these days.
A week or so ago, Little Man came home from preschool full of tales about they had been ‘doing races’ and that he was ‘the green winner’. We know not to take his word as gospel so congratulated him enthusiastically whilst holding off on booking him in for an intensive course at Lea Valley Athletics Centre.
A few days later, he wanted to play race with Big Man and myself so we duly obliged. I won (Oh yes, no mercy here), Little Man was 2nd and his Daddy was 3rd (what a loser!) but Little Man suddenly came out with the gem ‘We’re all winners’. Ahem, no sonny, not in this house we’re not.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to suggest that anyone who doesn’t come 1st should have their spirit crushed and I firmly believe in praising everyone who has taken part. However, I think that this can be achieved whilst still enforcing the idea that there is an ultimate winner, and worthy runners-up, and that striving to reach the goal of winning is not a bad thing.
Not long after this, notification came, in the form of a
child-like endearing newsletter (Comic Sans font no less!) that there was going to be a Sports Day. Unfortunately, Big Man had unmoveable work appointments that morning, but I was able to reschedule a client so that I could be there to cheer him on.
As the day approached, Big Man and I discussed how we thought the event would run. The newsletter had mentioned ‘a medal and small prize for everyone’ and we were dreading the thought that they were promoting the idea that nobody really ‘won’. We even made plans for how we would try & explain the concept of winning to him at a later date.
Well, the morning came and I was very pleasantly surprised to see that they were quite clearly awarding places of 1st, 2nd and 3rd with respective shiny stickers. (The egg & spoon race was actually particularly competitive with two ‘heats’ before a final race between the top placed 6!)
I got talking to the lady sat next to me (who had a newborn baby with her which was obviously lovely) and she told me that this preschool is more or less the only one locally to do this and that most have the children compete in teams with the result being shared amongst the entire team, no matter the individual success/failure. Personally, I think this is a shame, although I know I may well be in the minority.
True to their word, at the ‘prize-giving ceremony’, after the winners medals had been handed out, everyone else was given a medal and a sticker saying they ran in a race, followed by a yummy rocket ice lolly!
I’m going to include some obligatory pictures because, well, it’s my blog and I want to!
I’m interested to know, what are your thoughts on encouraging a competitive nature (or not!) in your children?
Thanks for reading,