One of the biggest truths of the animal kingdom is the adage that says – Survival of the fittest. This essentially means a competition for life in the animal kingdom where the strongest animal, the fastest animal survives.
However, among humans, we often frown upon the concept of competition among children. Especially academic competition as we feel that this often adds due pressure and leads to stress among kids. However today, many scholars are of the option that that competition is necessary, ingrained and essential not only for adults but also for children. In fact, there have been multiple studies that have shown that under certain conditions, competition can improve performance and happiness.
What are some of the life lessons that competition teaches children?
1. Resilience from a loss
The first time that a child loses in a competition or fails to achieve in a competitive environment, it can seem like the end of the world to the child. However, Parents need to maturely guide children through the hurt, humiliation, and frustration that comes with loss. Once the child gets over these feeling, over time we will notice the child working harder to win better. Their loss will teach them where they went wrong, what their shortcomings were and over time this attitude of hard work will teach kids to work better and be more resilient in their attitude
2. Winning with Grace
We all love to admire sportsmen and women who at the risk of losing their medals, stop the race to help a fellow contestant – these are winners with grace who understand the spirit of resilience. While losing is a face in competition, winning is the other side of the coin and competition teaches your kids these facts of life. It allows them to win with grace, respect the opponent and enjoy their win with the right spirit. The competition also reminds children that a win today could be a loss tomorrow and hence one must always have the right attitude.
3. Taking Risks
A spirit of competition teaches children the importance of taking a healthy risk instead of only doing activities that they are comfortable with. It teaches kids to step out of their comfort zone and they often being averse of new risky activities can keep them from enjoying activities that they may grow to love. Taking risks such as participating in a new race or enrolling yourself for new activities also helps build the self-confidence of children. This confidence will go a long way in helping them as adults navigating a fiercely competitive adult world.
4. A spirit of sportsmanship
Children also stand to learn a lot about sportsmanship and the right competition spirt in their childhood. They learn that every competition produces losers and winners, however, this does not define them and that one win or one loss is not what makes or breaks them. It teaches kids that communication and social skills that competition endows children are boundless.
The lessons being a good loser or winner home is one of the biggest traits of a winning personality and this is an essential trait to lean in one childhood.
5. Deal with stress
Adult life is filled with stress and competition in one’s childhood helps to understand this stress at a very basic level. It teaches the child to deal with pressure, stress and in many ways prepares them for an adult life where they do not drown under pressure but have ample of coping techniques under their belt.
What about competition in schools?
Today, parents across the world are realizing that while competition in schools develop self-discipline and drive in students to achieve more. But this competition in education needs to be purposed and packaged in a way that encourages slow learners instead of taking away their confidence. Healthy competition in schools helps the children learn more about themselves and their motivations.
If the parents notice that a child is unsportsmanlike or unmotivated, then they get a wonderful opportunity to step in and teach them a valuable life lesson about developing the right attitude toward facing challenges. In a supportive environment, during childhood, parents and teachers can together teach a child to compete with love respect and acceptance