Friday, December 15, 2006


I know competition can be a good thing for business, but is it good for our kids? We are on the doorstep athletic and academic pursuits with our kids I am wondering if it is possible to raise gracious kids in our society. Doesn't it seem like all the kids around you have an attitude? I'm realizing that the problem doesn't start with the kids, it starts with the parents! Those of you that know me know that I am not a competitive person, I like games like LifeStories where we all talk and everyone wins, but the things I've been noticing lately seem a little over the top!

At Elementary Track and Field Day I seriously heard some parents yelling to the FIRST GRADER, Don't let those girls beat you - Run Harder!

At Gymnastics Parents Night there was a lady who was talking on her cell phone the entire time, however she did take breif time outs to yell to her daughter not to slow down on the way to the springboard and to jump higher.

The Elementary Basketball program in our little town doesn't seem to be highly competitive, but there have been parents calling coaches demanding their kids be moved up to a better team. They are obviously too good to be losing so much.

We have a friend, who is now well out of high school, and his mom once went into the locker room at half time to yell at him for how he was playing basektball. Wow!

So there are parents who push their kids during swimming lessons, push them to get the best grades, to be first in everything: first in line, first in sports, first in academics.

So, how do I raise my kids in this setting? I want to teach them to enjoy playing the sport and do their best and to do their best in school. But I don't want them to think the world will end if they miss a shot, or fall in gymnastics or get a few wrong on a test.

I think we have to teach them to truly value others as Children of God. They can learn to applaud the achievements of their teammates and classmates and not feel jealous. If their "self-esteem" comes from the fact that Jesus Christ has saved them and loves them and has a plan for them they won't need to prove to everyone how worthy they are. I can show them that our love, support and approval for them does not center around their achievements. No doubt, I am proud of them for their achievements but that doesn't make me love them more.

We've probably all seen kids either driven to total over achievement or feeling like they will never measure up so why even bother by the time they are in junior high or high school. I feel bad for some of these kids, they are being set up for disappointment. And you know our friend, the one whose Mom came into the locker room? He got to his first big time college game as a quarterback, blew out his knee and never played again. Had he not found Christ, what would his reaction have been? And all these kids are someday going to leave the little bubble of their home and their school and realize (to their shock) that there are people out there that are better than them! Can you believe it?

Here's another area where I have to infuse the love of Jesus Christ into my parenting. They need to learn to press on in the important things of life, their realtionship with Jesus. So I know we aren't doing the kids any favors by raising them with the "first and best" mentality, but sometimes I get tired of listening to other people pound their own drums so to speak and want to whip out my kids latest test scores or something. Maybe I'm more competitive than I thought!

Ecclesiastes 9:11
"I have seen something else under the sun:
The race is not to the swift
or the battle to the strong,
nor does food come to the wise
or wealth to the brilliant
or favor to the learned;
but time and chance happen to them all.

Hebrews 12:1-3
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses,
let us throw off everthing that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles,
and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Let us fix our eyes of Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith,
who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary or lose heart."

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