Run the race, but don’t worry about being last

Although the sun is shining, the season of school sports days is upon us. There was a strong sense of competition at the ones I attended, with lots of over heating children running about; the little ones ran from one race to another race faster than they competed! My children are excellent sailors, dancers, and walkers. However, they are not very good at traditional sports day sports.

The wonder of traditional sports days, though, is that there are no concessions to those who can’t run. And quite right too. Whether a child can do sports or not, whether a child can do exams or not, they must compete in order to learn how to be adults. A good school will teach a child how to revise, how to run a race, how to time their papers, and how to cope with failure. This is the stuff of life. We all fail at things, and need to learn to move on. It’s so much better to learn this as a child.

And of course, as we choose our path in life, we learn to avoid the things we are bad at, and to put our energy into things in which we might excel. If we have really learnt how to be grown up, we might even choose to do things that we know we are hopeless at but we simply enjoy doing. That is when the lesson of failure has truly been learnt :-) I’m still working at it.  Bear with me.

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  1. Bill Miller’s avatar

    Just doing some idle browsing long after you have posted your thoughts.

    I remember a mealtime at school when I was sitting with a couple of players from the Australian Rugby Union team … I went to Rugby School where the game began and the Australian squad was visiting whilst on tour … and the hooker who was sitting opposite me was much more interested in whether I enjoyed playing the game than whether I was any good at it. He treated the question of whether I was any good at the game as almost an irrelevancy. I admired and appreciated his attitude, which was truly gentle and affirming … something you might not have expected from an Australian front-row rugby player who was clearly good enough and competitive enough to have made it into the national team.

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