Competition in Christendom

ImageThe following post was written by TCS senior Micah Weissinger…

In today’s culture, media and entertainment play a major part of everyone’s lives. I can hardly think of anyone that does not enjoy being entertained! One of the biggest forms of entertainment and personally one of my favorites is sports. If you enjoy sports at all, you are bound to find a channel for it on TV. Besides just watching sports on TV, you can always read about it or listen to it on the radio. Like I said before, sports as entertainment is huge. For many of us, the enjoyment of sports goes beyond just watching. We like to actually play sports. For a lot of people, it starts at a very young age. You’ve got T-ball for four year olds, dance for the toddler with pink bows in her hair and soccer can start basically as early as the kid can walk. For the kids who learn to love “their” sport, it usually leads to them playing competitively as they get older. Competitively being the key word. This word seems to bring a lot of questions and attention. First off, is competition even healthy for children? Anna Katzman, a clinical nurse specialist seems to think so. She writes: “Competition is, simply good:  It’s natural (as did our biological ancestors, we still compete for survival in some cases, say, for example, survival of a business); it’s what our country was founded upon; Competition can promote creativity, provide a child with a goal; it can teach children how to lose and lose graciously; it’s fun; it can be rewarding; it can help kids stand out as individuals”. I would say all those things sound pretty good. Well, Mr. Alfie Kohn, author of 12 books about human behavior, including No Contest: The Case Against Competition, claims: The “very phrase ‘healthy competition’ is actually a contradiction in terms… Some things are inherently destructive. Competition, which simply means that one person can succeed only if others fail, is one of those things.” So in short, Mr. Kohn is saying that winning because others failed is a bad thing. If we look deeper into this idea though, I think we might find out quite differently.

At a very young age, we are able to see the desire in kids to win or beat an opponent in almost anything – from who can brush their teeth the fastest to who can hit the baseball the farthest, the desire to win is there from the beginning. In Corinthians, we read “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.” That to me sounds like strong support for competition from a Christian viewpoint. What about if you’re not a Christian though? If you just look at the world, you can quickly see that it runs on competition. Can you even imagine what it would be like if there wasn’t competition for anything? I sure can’t.

As I said before, we are born with the desire to compete and we see that come out in almost everything. As with all desires though, they can be corrupted. There is a time and place for everything and when competition is not used in the right way or right time, things can most definitely get out of hand. This could be called unhealthy competition which is when your reaction to others’ success is negative, rather than inspiring and motivating to you. Unhealthy competition is where you hope others have limitations because you are afraid your limitations will cause you to lose unless they are somehow held back. Unhealthy competition is where you associate shame with losing rather than see your own nobility for trying.

Healthy competition on the other hand encourages everyone involved to push themselves harder than they would have without competition, and as a result they achieve more personal or professional growth whether they won or lost. Healthy competition expands the boundaries of what you believed was possible for yourself.  There are some serious benefits to this kind of healthy competition especially when these values are instilled at a young age. When learned at a young age, you can begin to excel at things you love while still helping others to do the same. It also helps with the transition of moving out into the world where literally everything is a stiff competition. Besides these few things, there are endless health benefits to kids staying active through sports and let’s not be quick to forget how much fun sports are in the first place!

So now, let’s go back and look at competition in sports for kids. In dealing with healthy competition, there are only positives. There are so many different sports and so many things you can do with each and every one. A child can learn valuable life lessons, stay healthy and active and have an absolute blast while doing it all!

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Posted on February 11, 2013, in Christian Living Blog Entries, Trinity Christian School Blog Entries and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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