In my article Why Kids Need to Learn to Lose to Win in Life we started to look at the important life coping skills that come from kids experiencing loss in sports or a failing grade or even facing consequences of their actions or inactions.
Many kids are missing out on this experience because of the trend towards including everyone and rewarding everyone for just participating.
Mediocrity not an Option in Higher Education and Work Force
As teens and adults, our children won’t be able to just show up to their high school, college, or university courses and pass them. They won’t be able to go to a potential place of employment and get and keep a job simply because they showed up for the interview.
That’s not how life works. Life works if we have goals and a sense of competition, both within ourselves driving us to be better than we are, and in regards to each other that makes us the best person for the job over the 30 other applicants vying for the same position.
Competition teaches Perseverance and Stick-to-it-iveness
Competition is necessary because striving for a particular outcome, despite troubles or setbacks along the way, encourages perseverance and persistence, or stick-to-it-iveness. It allows children to focus on an activity or a set of skills and become better than they were when they started, and better at it than other children (and that’s not wrong).
Wayne Gretzky, Steve Jobs, and Nelson Mandela didn’t become the best at what they did or achieve what they did by staying the same. They worked, and strove, and experienced failure and setbacks many times before becoming the people we now revere them for being.
Competition allows children to feel the pride that comes from accomplishment, of having to work for something and feel that sense of accomplishment when they finally see the outcome of those efforts. It doesn’t always mean making it in first place, and not making it in first place is okay.
We seem to be stuck in this thinking that competition is all about who wins the game.