Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Life

May 21, 2013

WHOLE FAMILY: I guess if someone has to be last, why not me?

(Continued)

They do play chess — several first-place trophies lining the shelves — which is, for sure, a direct competition of skill and talent. But I was happy to hear at a recent chess tourney my 9-year-old son offered his opponent the opportunity to correct a fatal move the other boy had made.

“I was going to win anyway, Mom,” he said, “but it didn’t seem right to win like that. Plus, then he would learn about that move and never make the mistake again.”

It was sort-of a gentlemanly way to triumph over another, I guess.

WHEN IT COMES TO THE QUESTION, “Is the human drive to compare and compete ‘nature,’ or is it ‘nurture?’” anthropologists, psychologists, sociologists — all kinds of other scholars — debate intelligently and persuasively on both sides.

(I realize I’ve been intermingling “compare” and “compete” here, and there is a difference. Seems, though, that when we compare, we humans then are compelled to compete.)

Some say competition is obviously innate just by the way we’re conceived. Did you know only one in MILLIONS of sperm will penetrate an egg to fertilize it? Millions race toward the ovum; only one wins.

Others say we are enculturated to compete, being constantly compared and contrasted with others around us while vying for ways to out-think, out-smart and out-maneuver others.

That’s not hard to believe, either. From the time our babies are born we’re plotting them on charts and testing them for this and that to see how they compare. Then we do everything we know to help them to climb to the top of any given playground pile. Waiting lists for preschool? Lessons, lessons, lessons when they’re barely walking?

THE DEBATE ABOUT COMPETITION becomes something like this: Is there a “healthy” level or kind of competition? Is it all bad? Is it a great motivator for success and thus a good thing?

Boy, I don’t know exactly.

In general, I prefer to be part of endeavors that encourage others to be their best — not ones that encourage me to prove myself better than them. It’s almost as much fun seeing someone else succeed as it is succeeding myself.

Yet comparison and maybe a little chiding — “Let’s see who does this better …” — do prove to be motivating. At the gym, where my numbers are often lowest of many, I find I do better if I’m working to keep up with the guy or gal next to me. I don’t care about being top dog, per se, but I like to push myself to at least stay among the pack.

As for being last? Well, someone has to be. And if I am that someone, so what? Being last can be a motivator, too. After I failed to remain tear-free after that “65,” I visited my microbiology instructor and asked, “What do I need to do?” She assured me I was smart enough — just needed to learn how to study science.

I took her advice and completed that class with a solid “A,” turning my LAST into a FIRST for me. I don’t know how I fared against other students in the class, and it really doesn’t matter. But that “A” after at first failing was a personal record, as they say at the gym.

Goshen News columnist Stephanie Price is a wife, mother, teacher, childbirth educator, midwife’s assistant and nursing student from Elkhart. Contact her at wholefamily@goshennews.com, 269-641-7249 or on Facebook at the page “Whole Family Column by Steph Price.”

Text Only
Life
  • Red Cross in urgent need of donors

    The American Red Cross is facing a blood shortage, leading to an urgent need for donors of all blood types to roll up a sleeve and give.

    July 23, 2014

  • Vegetables need blanching before freezing Rain at the right time and cool weather is making for bountiful gardens, whether it be your own or produce that you buy at many of the local vegetable stands. While I am at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair, I know from past years, I will have many convers

    July 23, 2014

  • Briefly Translation to XTAGS failed

    July 23, 2014

  • GROUNDS FOR INSANITY: Schrock boys could add some excitement to White House EDITOR’S NOTE: Rhonda’s Schrock’s column normally appears on Mondays, but was moved this week due to fair coverage.What a wonderful time of year. As I write, a summer rain is falling. Instead of bundling up in layers, tripling my normal circumference

    July 20, 2014

  • Puppy in perilfrom parvo Dear Dr. Weldy’s: My neighbor’s puppy is sick with parvovirus. Are my dogs at risk? What can you tell me about this illness?Dear reader: If your dogs are current on vaccines, they are at very little risk of contracting this virus. Parvovirus is a com

    July 20, 2014

  • SHADES OF GREEN: Educating future leaders in environmental issues is important Thinking about my future year at Goshen Middle School, I found this essay I wrote in 2009 that I will read often while working with my 12-year-old students.***I’ve had many mentors who have led me down my path of education. Ones who have inspired; on

    July 20, 2014

  • GN140720 whole family 01 A special memory on graduation day Today I get “pinned,” a nursing-school version of a graduation ceremony during which we say a pledge to take good care of people and grin goofy-like — I’m sure I will — as our favorite faculty gift us roses, handshakes, and a little gold broach.Oh, a

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • 'Staycation' a simple, but fun alternative One of the column topics that I get a lot of comments, compliments and feedback on is when I write about my vacation adventures (or should I say, misadventures?).Since I took a spring vacation this year and didn’t have any other plans to travel, I de

    July 19, 2014

  • Calls aboutlarge, green June bugs increasing The caller was a bit frantic as she described huge bugs flying all around her backyard, seemingly chasing her around as she tried to investigate what was going on near her garden. She described them as shiny green, and shaped somewhat like a Japanese

    July 18, 2014

  • GN140718 dirt on gardening grubs DIRT ON GARDENING: Grubs, left untreated, will continue to cause damage Bugs are a gardener’s worst nightmare — or seemingly so. Every year we are confronted with these pesky critters that enjoy eating the leaves and vegetation of our prized landscapes and vegetable gardens — sometimes even the vegetables themselves.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video
Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee Senators Push to End Hamas Threat in Cease-Fire A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands
Poll

Last weekend (July 12) the Goshen Parks Department held its Kid’s Try-athlon to promote childhood fitness and this week (July 18) the new bicycle trail is open to the fairgrounds in Goshen, offering residents a healthy way to get to the annual agriculture exposition. Have you joined the local fitness movement?

Yes, I work at eating healthy and exercising
No, I am happy with my fitness level
Changing my diet and exercise frequency is a work in progress
     View Results