Saturday, September 7, 2013

why competition is good for kids: the sunday parenting party

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i saw an article on friday that made my brain started spinning at lightning speed.  i'm gonna let you know, i'm not usually so strong spoken on here.  i try to stay off my soapbox as much as possible.  but i just. can't. let. this. go.
an ontario soccer league, is trying to make sure every child "wins" by actually taking the ball out of soccer games.  yeah, you read that right.  the kids play soccer without a ball.  don't believe me? check out the article here.  soccer without a ball, is just kids chasing each other and kicking each other in the shins.  where's the sport in that?
so these kids are "winning" by never having to face the disappointment of losing with grace.  by never having to learn one of life's most important lessons:
it doesn't matter that we fall down, it matters that we get up. 
a missed goal or strike out doesn't have to be the end of the world in little kids' sports.  and it doesn't mean that the child is inherently bad at whatever game they're playing.  it means that they're going to need to practice if they want to get better.  by looking at our weaknesses in comparison to others, we can sometimes see what we're striving for and it pushes us to be persistent and work harder for the goal.
the soccer association spokesperson said: "We want our children to grow up learning that sport is not about competition, rather it's about using your imagination. If you imagine you're good at soccer, then, you are."
i have two points of contention with this statement.  the first being that sports are not about imagination.  sports have rules that teach children to keep their actions within the parameters of the game.  that's one of the reasons why they're so great to involve children in if they're have to follow rules. 
secondly... if you imagine you're good at something, then, bam! that's it! you are.  so right now, i'm imagining that i'm good at basketball, but that doesn't mean that i'm ready to join the NWBA.  it's not true.  it's a way of thinking that is not only a lie, but a delusion of grandeur that's deceiving and a disservice to the child.  we're entering into an age where many kid's self-esteems are being inflated beyond realistic proportions.  don't get me wrong.  it's great for kids to think that they can do anything.  but when they're made to believe that they are good at everything by the adults they trust, they're being set up for hurt and disappointment. {think those people on American Idol who are tone-deaf, but their parents allow them to embarrass themselves on national television}.
character is built with humility.  everyone has weaknesses, skills that aren't are great as others.  by teaching our kids to be realistic and humble about their skills, whether they be weak or strong, they're learning how to carry themselves as adults.  no one likes the person in the office that thinks they can do your job better than you.  so why create that misconception and harmful thinking so early in life?
how many times we, as adults, are disappointed throughout the week.  how many times things just don't go our way.  you can't always win.  it's a life truth.  that doesn't mean telling little johnny that he sucks at soccer.  it just means letting them try and praising their effort, and then helping them to handle their disappointment if the outcome isn't one they liked or expected.
it's the real world, baby.  let's help our kids be comfortable with and love who they honestly are. 
and that ladies and gentleman... is my two cents. 
Now onto The Sunday Parenting Party! This week’s hosts are denoted by the word {host} behind their link’s name in the list below. The SPP is place for readers to find ideas on nurturing, educating, developing and caring for children, as well as honest posts on the stresses of being a parent or caregiver. Reviews and Giveaways are welcome as long as they are relevant to the topic.

All parenting philosophies are welcome with one exception, please do not link posts promoting physical discipline as this is something we would feel uncomfortable having on our blogs.

PS: By linking up you agree that your post and photos are Pinterest, Sulia, G+ and FB friendly. We will be showcasing ideas on our The Sunday Parenting Party Pinterest board.

my favorites from last week's party:

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suzyhomeschooler said...

I thought it was bad enough that everyone gets a trophy for participating. I don't know how anyone could have possibly thought this was a good idea... I don't know how anyone could have even come up with this idea. What are ball sports without the ball? Smh.

This is especially disturbing considering the recent studies highlighting the gap between what current college students think about their performance in class vs what their professors think about their performance. We're raising children to become adults who think they don't ever have to put any effort forth because they are so naturally gifted. It is like we are looking at a future of self proclaimed geniuses.

Brigette said...

At first I was outraged, much like you, but the article you linked to is actually a satirical piece. ;)

Rebekah P said...

I haven't read that article, but I agree that kids need, at some point, to come to an understanding of their strengths and weaknesses.

If the children were getting too competitive in a bad sportsmanship way, then the adults needed to teach some manners. And I have a child who is way to competitive, in a bad way, and we have decided to wait until that child is a little older to enroll in team sports. Hopefully, some maturity will help this child to regulate negative emotions when it comes to losing or even being a good sport when winning.

And this reminds me so much of American Idol. You know the singers that come to try outs who are really, really very bad singers. I don't laugh at them but am filled with embarrassment for them and it is very hard for me to watch. I wonder why their parents have never gently helped them better understand their aptitude for singing. It never helps to tell a child they are good at something if they are actually not good at it. You don't have to call the child names but just mention specific skills the child needs to improve on to gain proficiency.

Ok, better go naptime is over! Great post!

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