Listen, let’s be real, I’m not playing a game that I have no chance of winning. There’s no such thing as a relaxing game night in our house. Participation trophies have no place on our shelves. One of my earliest memories is playing Parcheesi on the back deck with my dad as he refused to let me win; I was four. I was raised by competitive parents and now I’m raising competitive kids. So yes, the competitive streak runs deep. But I’m not ashamed- I let that competitive flag fly.
I fully believe that competition is healthy. Competition forces kids to try their hardest and encourages sportsmanship. A kid who practices hard, plays hard, and achieves their goals is a kid who is learning about hard work, dedication, and the two-sided coin of being proud and being humble.
I will admit, raising competitive children has had it’s trying moments. There was the vacation when my 8-year-old declared, “IF YOU BELLY LAUGH ONE MORE TIME, I AM DONE!” while playing a very serious game of Uno with the extended family. There was the time we had to take the Wii out of the living room because bowling matches were getting a little too heated. Or the time when my son’s uncle flipped the Monopoly board when he started losing. But each of these were learning moments. Winning is fun, but so is the game. Take pride in trying your hardest, even if it means having to try a little harder the next time around.
Competitiveness has landed my son in some great spots: academically, athletically, and in life. He’s learned the delicate art of sportsmanship, something I may not have completely mastered yet. Does he feel a loss deeply? Absolutely. Will you catch him tearing up on the mound when the strikes just won’t hit the corners of the plate? Most definitely. But you’ll also see him graciously losing a math game to a friend who is having a bad day. You’ll see him hug his best friend after a game where he struck him out. If you checked out my fridge, you’d see a number of Student of the Month certificates plastered up their like wallpaper. Because competitiveness translates to honestly, hard work, and pride. I am raising competitive kids and sorry, I’m not sorry, I’m proud.