How competitive are you as a parent?

Min Atek

What you need to know:

As a parent, how competitive are you? Should you be? What has it yielded?

Driving from Mbarara to Kampala one hot Wednesday morning, we spotted him. His single cabin pickup was in the middle of the road. Every attempt to overtake him was futile because he deliberately denied access to anyone.

I smiled and then mentioned to my colleague in the car that the man driving was not about to let us go past him. We could only guess why, perhaps a gentle competition of sorts

Oftentimes drivers get into competition with one another on the roads. Sometimes there is nothing much to it but there is people who take it severe notches high to fatal levels.

We live in an interesting world. Many people are competitive and sometimes unnecessarily. They compete with the cars they drive, the homes they stay in, the schools they take their children and the way they do life in general.

As a parent, how competitive are you? Should you be? What has it yielded?

The competitive spirit is double edged. It can propel you to high places and it can be the Achilles heel that brings your downfall.

Take for example competition among siblings. At the innocent front, it can be the reason your children excel in what they do because they are driven to be better than the other sibling

But there are unhealthy zones when the children compete about anything and everything. When they cease to reason and get to the place when their only driving force is to be better than everyone

Have you met children who throw mega tantrums when they fail to get what they want and see their siblings being rewarded? The child who will lie about their siblings or the one who will cause harm to others all in the name of being the better one at everything.

Have you met adults who do not see eye to eye even when they share the same father and mother? Some of the pain and grief they carry sprang from the competition they experienced as children at home. In some cases some parents favoured a specific child against another and by that they created a rift that has grown deeper in later years.

I am inclined to believe that we work best when we understand that we are all in the same boat and that what affects one affects another. That we are inter dependent beings rather than to be independent

The leg needs the toes the same way the ears need the eyes. The veins carry blood and the nostrils bring in oxygen. The plants breathe in the carbon dioxide that we breath out and we take the oxygen that the plants breathe out

Healthy competition pushes us forward but if not handled with wisdom and maturity, that same competition can be dangerous and destructive.

May God help us. May we know when to act and when not to act. May we know when to speak and when not to speak to get the perfect balance even as we raise our children.


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