Sportsmanship – What do we teach our chidren?

Pool Noodle Race Track DIY 80

(Photo from http://www.ramblingsfromutopia.com/2012/04/diy-pool-noodle-race-track.html)

We did such a fun project last week with the kids.

I bought Pool Noodles and had hubby cut them in half for me.At school we spoke about races,I asked the kids what sort of races that they been to ,what kind of race there are.What is the Start Line?What is the Finish Line?We got some great answers and the kids had attended Horse Races , Swimming Competitions  , Car Races and it was great to see them identify the words Start and Finish when we were done with the lesson.

I had the kids colour their own “START” and “FINISH” banners for their noodle race tracks. Free Printable of  Signs for your Pool Noodle Race  – Start & Finish

I decided to utilize chocolate shortcake Chuckles    ea5JGfACyxHgKEPwLs8AKNQafQ8j    (@ Woolworths – http://www.woolworths.co.za/store/fragments/product-details/product-details-index.jsp?productId=20000974) , it meant we weren’t using dangerous Marbles and yummy Chuckles can be eaten after we play with them.Once they tool the Noodles home they could also play this with their little cars.

Now for the interesting part.The class consists of children from the age of 2 – 5.We began the 1st race and down rolled their little choclate balls , 1st race had two winners and we began to prepare for the next race.One of the kids left their place and went to stand up against the counter.I was surprised and asked what was wrong,another child said it was because the child had won the race.At 1st I ignored the child’s behavior and the others continued to do a few races, this child did not move, didn’t  look back to watch the races, the body language was completely disinterested ,crossed arms and impatiently looking up.

We were getting to the end of the lesson and I wanted the child to continue participating.I told the others to do a “Pit Stop” and fix their tracks and Banners and I went to speak to the child.I asked the child what had happened and why the child didn’t want  to play anymore.The hesitation to answer was incredible , this child was really upset.Eventually there was a whispered answer”I didn’t win I’m the Ioser. I don’t want to play anymore” .I smiled at the child,explained that we don’t always come 1st on our first try but if we continue practicing we could come 1st but it’s about having fun , I persuaded the child to continue playing with the rest of the kids and on the last race the child came 1st.At the end the kids did High Fives and shook hands with the other racers , encouraging good sportsmanship.

In our household we don’t use  the words Winner or Loser we use 1st 2nd 3rd etc.However after this incident I thought back on a few occasions when my little man used the word Loser.We brush our teeth together and I sometimes encourage him by saying “lets see who will finishes brushing our teeth 1st” , once or twice when he finishes 1st he says to me “hahaha you the loser mommy” I always reply that I came 2nd.

Parenting will always be different from one household to another.What do we need to teach and instil in our children so that grow up to be good members of society?

Is competitiveness and the need to be 1st programmed int our DNA? The child mentioned has just turned 4!

Does it form part of the “strong survive and the weak will perish”?

What do you believe?

Would love to hear from you let’s get a discussion going.

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