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.


  1. Hello, Emma. I came on over from Geo.'s blog. I believe in competition for youngsters, and on the flip side believe they must understand the nature of losing. We live in a society that passes blame continually. "The judge didn't like us, the referees were unfair," and so on. I wonder how much sinks in when I question my grandchildren on their reasoning.

    1. V eery well stated. As to yuor grandchildren they hear and absorb uch more than they let us know. Thank you for visiting.

  2. I have a sister-in-law that you do not want to play a game with. If she loses, WATCH out!!
    I bet you have met that kind too!

    1. I have seen people overturn card tables, try to hit a player after a game, and even take their ball and go home in the middle of a game. I have heard screaming and yelling and all-out tantrums.If they only knew how ridiculous they look.

  3. Dear Emma, I think that a (sound) competition is good. One seldom gets something without an effort - and one has to learn it when one is young. It gives you also the feeling that you can shape (to some extent) your fate. I do not like pampered people who think the world owns them all (when they do nothing). And I believe that a child feels belittled if you let it win only because he is a child (I speak of every time - that one is a bit lenient is OK).
    Our motto in raising - and reasuring - our child was: "You have done the best you could." That is what counts. The self-esteem follows.

    1. You make a point that I did not stress enough. I do not believe in cut-throat competition. A game is not that important. I also did not point out that even though my parents did not allow us to automatically win they guided us so we could learn how to win. They made sure we followed rules and understood how to play. They taught us strategy and how to observe what was being done by other players. And doing one's best is always the best thing to hope for.

  4. Healthy competition is important because it prepares the person to the real world and makes you a well diverse individual. :)

  5. First time visits here, I wish you have a happy day~ =D

    (A Growing Teenager Diary Malaysia)

  6. I think you're right about competition. Some people take it too far, but like you, I enjoy winning, but I'm not a sore loser.

    I think keeping grades in school is the right thing to do too. I'm not sure how I would know, without grades, that a child is falling behind where they should be.

    They need to be ready when they get to college.

    1. Grades are a good measure of a child's achievements. Knowledgeable parents and teachers also use other things to follow the child's growth. It is necessary in my opinion to have a way to know if your child is achieving potential. It is also necessary to know that each child has a different way of achieving. Doing the best they can requires competition.

    2. I agree your view on competition. I had once a talk with a friend about it and I remember him saying that "competition" is the best thing that keeps us all going. Maybe he's not all right but I believe that competition is necessary. It is a great motivation to succeed. It encourages solidarity in a team, it develops pride and sense of belongingness after winning in an inter-school competition. It is competition that teaches you the value of sportsmanship. It teaches you acceptance (of defeat- that it happens sometimes) and it makes you understand differences. That in this world there will always be better and less person than you are. It creates balance.

      What those schools' aims are, are maybe not bad but we can't create a moderated world for children when later they have to mingle with the rest of the real world. Well at least that's what I think.

    3. On a talk show today they were talking about a high school basketball game. The final score was 161 to 2. People were incensed that the winning coach still has a job. One woman actually said that the coach should have swapped players with the losing team to even things. Maybe (I am saying) the losing coach could have conceded the game earlier to save embarrassment. Of course both solutions are bad. Winning and losing are part of life. We need to be able to do both gracefully. If the losing team was doing the best they could they have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.

    4. You are definitely right on that. What matters most is doing ones best.