Winning is an odd thing. I know we are not supposed to take too much notice of it, and we are meant to tell our kids that winning does not matter as long as they tried hard/did their best/gave 110%/whatever. But our kids don’t buy this. They know when they win and when they lose, they keep track of every goal they score, even when playing each other in the yard (actually, this brings out the worst, competitive monsters in them).
Children are naturally competitive and I don’t think this is wrong. It’s a tough world out there. As long as being competitive does not blind you to the joys and benefits of cooperation, or make you so anxious about losing that your ability to play suffers, I think it is part of us. Of course it has to be tempered with reason and not take over our lives just as most instinctive reactions do.
When I was a competitive rider I always liked a blue ribbon best but a red or a yellow was pretty sweet too. Sometimes though, I wanted that blue and nothing else would do. Sometimes I got it and sometimes I didn’t but I never lost my ability to enjoy the ride. The competition was why I was there that day but it was the riding that kept me coming back.
I want my kids to win because it makes them feel good. Why do a competitive sport unless you are out there to win? But I want them to lose too so they learn how to handle it and that no matter how hard you try, life doesn’t always go your way. I am lucky in that my children can handle losing after the initial sting goes away. They have the love of playing the game firmly embedded in their personalities. I will celebrate with them when they win and comfort them when they lose but I will never tell them not to win or that it doesn’t matter because they would know that was a lie.