I’m a mom who believes in healthy competition. I believe in 1st, 2nd & 3rd place trophies. In the right context competition can spur you on to want to do better. Some people even thrive in that environment. But not everyone.
Somewhere along the way, my kids have managed to surround themselves with really smart kids, to which I’m thankful. I consider it a blessing to have them being influenced by kids who want the most out of their education (or at least, the kids’ parents want the most for their education).
But it comes with its disadvantages too.
The wrong kind of competition.
It can be horribly damaging to a person’s ego and self-confidence, especially when you find yourself comparing your abilities to those of others who seem smarter than you are, or who feel the need to remind you they’re smarter every chance they get.
When my kids get down on themselves for not “measuring up” to their peers (according to their own eyes, because of course I think they’re geniuses), I have to remind them that first and foremost, the only person they need to compare themselves to is…well…themselves.
And second, if they want to be “smarter,” they have to work for it.
They forget that their “smart” friends probably weren’t born that way. They work to be that way. I can bet that their friends’ parents are much stricter than we are, and their friends’ lives are probably filled with many more extracurricular academic activities. “Minecraft” is probably not first on their list.
But my kids, like the rest of us, want it both ways. They want unlimited computer time AND they want to be at the top of their class.
They also need to remember that many “smart” and successful people failed numerous times. But they got “smart” and successful from learning from their mistakes, and learning to ignore the nay-sayers and others who tried to keep them back.
So I’ll keep encouraging my kids to strive for 1st place, as long as they remember what it takes to get there, and to remember that if they reach 1st place, not to lord it over others. It’s okay to be proud of your self, but it’s a whole different animal to be arrogant about it.
The only person you should try to be better than, is the person you were yesterday.