Monday, July 12, 2010

Healthy Competition

I never think of myself as a competitive person, until I race my husband in go carts. Yeah even at 40 I want to win at a kid’s play thing. I don’t like to lose. Now is that healthy? Maybe it is and maybe it isn’t. I will bump, crunch and sacrifice future rides of the day to win. Do I knock out the cute little kid getting to drive for the first time, or the father/son team that is joy riding around the track? You bet! Something clicks in my head and I turn into Danica Patrick. My jaw clenches, hands tighten to a painful ache and my heart pounds to a racer’s rhythm. I love me some competition.

But is that healthy? Is it healthy to win at all costs? Hells Yeah! (Not really) because two days later, I am still paying for it. Yeah that’s right~ two whole days later. I hear my son in the backseat whispering to his friend, “My mom is a crazy driver. She tailgated me and my dad until we spun out, she cheated.”

Okay, maybe I took the race thing a little too far for them, but I didn’t cheat! Hey, we all have times in life when we need to make people notice that we are right behind them pushing them to do better. Giving them the little nudge to tell them, they need to speed up or pull over. Sh*t or get off the pot, right? OK, so I nudged them and they just happen to spin out. Was that my fault? Who am I to judge? Maybe at that particular moment they hit an oil slick and it wasn’t all about my bumper tapping theirs.

Point is I liked the adrenalin rush it gave me to push past them. It felt good to do something better than someone else. It felt good to win. But what I realized was I didn’t like what it brought up in my son, the excuses for not winning, the name calling it created. Instead of saying good job, it was all the excuses to why they didn’t win. Grant it, he is only 7 years old and highly competitive, (he gets it all from his father) but it makes me wonder if I am raising a poor loser. Am I doing everything in my power to teach my boys that a big part of being successful is learning how to handle defeat, failure, and loss? Was I the most humble winner? Did I win gracefully? Not really, I bounced high out of the tiny go cart and whooped my arm in the air. I pointed to the sky with my finger and made sure they knew I was number 1. I didn’t win gracefully that day; I was the prime example of a cocky winner that I really didn’t want my kids to ever be.

It’s the aftermath we leave in our paths that tell us if we handled our successes and failures with grace, fortitude and honor. That day I didn’t. But at least I can learn from my foibles and not repeat them. Teach my sons to succeed with humility and fail with dignity. That is my responsibility in raising respectful, conscientious people. It starts with me, so I guess the next time I race them, I’ll have to win with humility.

1 comment:

  1. So much truth in this! I have two very competitive "boys" over here and their celebrations are often "over the top". Still working with them both on winning with humility...