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To compete or not to compete is the question

I would like to think I am not competitive. I don't even know where and how to compete. As I begin this post I am trying to state things where competition happens but I am failing miserable as I hardly know the arenas. As a child I was least bothered about who stood first and who came second though I was a fairly good student. I don't think I ever considered myself in the queue to get nominated for the rank in the class. It did not matter who wore what and who flaunted what stationery sent by some uncle/ aunt living in States. What mattered to me was how many words could I spell and could rattle the exact dictionary definition. Also maybe the number of books I borrowed in a month. (I can imagine a few smirks here and there)

The trend continued during the college and then university years. I was too laid back to be hurried in and out of classrooms and projects in the name of competing with the classmates. I am slow. I move slow. I often speak slowly and I think very very slowly. This was mirrored in the times when competition could have breathed a new life in the way my life eventually turned out to be.

Anyway, now as a mother to a 6 years in bad times as these, I see parents competing and egging their kids to compete. Yesterday I raised heckles when a friend mentioned her daughters report from a PTM and was ruing the fact that the child had managed 3 out of four stars. Poor thing! I did not let her continue and charged with a 'bloody' moralistic lecture. Intelligent girl that she is, she kept nodding at all the right places in form of empathy or maybe that was sympathy. I rallied on the importance of competition killing the child's spirit, how it was synonymous with comparisons and what good were comparisons at all were; for a good half an hour. Eventually the look on her face made me relent. The same look- sympathy mixed with a fair dose of pity- made me wonder maybe it was important to be competitive. It made me stop in the tracks, literally, as I worked in the kitchen. May be I have been wrong all this while. Maybe I should compete and make my child too.

But the next moment a bigger question faced me. Whom should I compete with and on what parameters? I have almost given up trying to find an answer to this as I am not finding an motivation here to even try. As far as the child is concerned, I will be looking for answers, even though with a wrinkled nose.

Do you have any thoughts/opinions/answers on this?


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