Tuesday, August 13, 2013

What competition?

Do you sometimes feel it, I wonder? Do you sometimes feel
The competition? The race? The urge? It comes in a sly package,
Wrapped with pretence and excuses, it comes also
With temptation, stress, it is never far.
As a mother, it hurts far more than it did before,
Before being a mum. I've known competition
For my work, my studies, I've known it also
In more personal domains, disguised as rivalry,
Lack of self-confidence, hesitation, fear. But it never
Was a big deal. I sometimes joined in, when I had to,
And that's that. But as a mother, it raises new questions
About my children, myself, and the world.
This world I live in, where cherished creatures make their 
First steps, stumble, and soar and dance again. And I see it,
At school, at riding lessons... whenever kids innocently
Engage in a new activity, learn and have fun, I happen to hear it:
Comparing, pushing up the limits, encouraging the fight, asking
Only for the very best. But is being the best at anything
An aim in itself? Don't get me wrong, I love a healthy competition
Where the adrenaline never wipes out friendship and pure enjoyment.
But I believe the only competition that's worth is the competition
With oneself...

One of my kids is learning how to swim these days, and I see it again,
Those parents pushing, asking their kid to be the first, throwing babies into the race.
But is life a race against others? That is of course not how
I see it myself. I do not care whether my little child will be 
The best of her swimming class, what I do care about is
Whether she enjoys it, whether she learns and makes progress.
I do not want her to focus on what others do or don't do, I love to see her
Participate, improve, be brave and laugh, and that's how every day, like my other kids,
She grows a little more independent, that's how I hope she and I
Remember that we are all different, that all accomplishments are fine and complementary,
That it doesn't take us very far to compare with others or try to be someone else,
Because really, improving and getting better is nothing without true enjoyment,
And the only competition there might be, is taking place within our bodies and minds.


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