Friday, January 16, 2015
I have read about the progressive schools that do not give out grades or encourage the children to other than what they feel.The reasoning seems to be that the children will feel better about themselves if they do not worry about failure. Feeling better about themselves will ensure success in later life according to those schools.
Then there are the children's sports teams who play but do not keep score. The premise is the same. No pressure to win, no disappointment at a loss.
Parents often allow their children to win at all the games they play together. The children will not feel bad a bout losing the game and the parents know they would have won. Everybody is happy.
As you might have guessed I have a different view. I strongly believe in competition. I think it encourages one to aspire to higher things. I also believe that if competition is encouraged it need not focus on winning every time but focusing on doing one's best.
As a child we had little money. We amused ourselves by playing sports and games of all sorts. As gifts we would recieve sports equipment among the other gifts. There were also board games that were sometimes a family gift.
I played volleyball, baseball, soccer, football (even tackle football sometimes), softball, basketball, and any other sporting game that was being played at the moment. The object of any of those games is to beat the other team.
There were always rules that had to be followed. If the rules were broken a price had to be paid. So we learned to follow the rules even if there was no one to really enforce them. And we learned to call other players who broke the rules. We stood up for what was right according to the structure of the game.
If it was just a pick-up game among friends we still kept score. Teams were chosen by the two captains of the day. Of course the better players were chosen first but we all played. At the end of the game we knew who won and who lost. But we were all friends and we knew that the next game would consist of a different combination of players and we might be on the other end of winning/losing, It did not matter... we were still friends.
If it was an organized game for school we would be playing against another school. We played our hardest against them just as they did against us. It was all-out war for the time period the game lasted. Sometimes we won; sometimes we lost. At the end of games each team would congratulate the other team on a game well played. It was over.
At home we played games in the evening. We had board games and we also played games on paper and oral games where you needed to have a quick mind or be ousted.
My parents did not ever "let" us win the games. We learned that winning was not where the joy of playing comes from. It comes from trying your best. At the same time if we did win the game we had the satisfaction of knowing that it was our own prowess that allowed us to win.
Of course there are games that depend on luck too. Cards games are like that. Being an unlucky person I do not do well on games that rely on luck. That is why I am not a gambler. But if I can use my abilities I have a fighting chance.
When I was in school I liked getting good grades. At the same time I knew that learning was and is something that comes more easily to me than some others. It is the one thing I do really well.
I tried to be the first one to turn in a test paper and have the best grade besides. Sometimes I did and sometimes I did not but that was my goal.
I am a very competitive person. I like to win. If I do not win I want to know that at least I tried my best. I do not gloat and rub it in to other players. I am happy but I am a good winner. That is important to me.
If I lose I am a good loser. I am genuinely happy for the person beat me. As long as I did the best I could I am happy for me too.
Competition is a good thing as long as it is balanced. It teaches us to strive to do well. It stimulates us to understand what the other person is doing and how to strategize a way to counteract his moves. That is called thinking ahead. It is needed in chess which I am not good at... I am much too impulsive.
Maybe we can come up with a new plan to completely confound the other person. We have learned ingenuity.
Yes competition is a good thing. It need not be the only thing but it is good.