Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Finishing the race

Saraiah's car before the race 

I do not enjoy competition. Tonight's Awana grand prix was difficult for me and my kids. I really could care less about being involved in things that involve competition, and avoid them generally, but you can't avoid it sometimes. It's hard because I like to let my kids do all the work on their cars, helping them with just a few small things, just like with their posters for the 4H fairs. Kids that do all the work themselves are not celebrated, noticed or honored. It is the kids whose parents do most of the work that usually get noticed. 

This is not how I am raising my children to be. I want them to be willing and excited to do difficult tasks, and not feel overshadowed by competition that's just not quite fair. I told my friend today that there should be a special "kids only division" where kids do all the work themselves, just as they have "parent only" divisions. That's when I think my kids would shine. They would see the care it took for levi to take the ends off of two pencils, find glue and glue them to his car as jets, then paint them. Instead, a kid came up to him and said, "Levi, why did your car keep crashing and crashing?" And he broke the pencils off, saying they slowed down the car.

Levi's car on the left 

If people had looked carefully at Saraiah's car, they would have seen the many layers of paint, from her painting it several times and not quite getting the color she wanted, so then doing it again. Her car was the slowest every time, and she ended up crying for a half hour afterwards. (to be fair, she was already very overtired from 3 days at a french immersion day camp with our school)

Saraiah's car is on the right. The car next door was of the same kid-made caliber. 

I'm concerned for the 4H fairs coming up this summer. My children have already done their display boards, and Saraiah hand-wrote hers completely, because she doesn't know how to use a computer. I know the other posters will have computer typed words that are more legible, and my heart hurts a bit to know that the competition will be tough.

But I have to stand by what I believe, and I believe it's not about the trophy or the accolades, but about what you learn leading up to the race, and even being in the race. If you happen to win, it's a great reward for all that work. But isn't the struggle of finding the right tools, solving problems and learning new things really where the triumph is? If only I could take a hold of their little hearts, protect them, and help them understand.

Paul spoke about this in 2 Timothy 4:7: "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." He didn't talk about winning the race. He talked about completing it. When we press on, do our best with God's help, and finish what it is He has given us to do, that is when we find true success. That's better than any rosette ribbon I've ever seen.

These cars belong to the kids' cousins. Sienna didn't expect to win anything because her car lost every race, and her mom was just talking with her about how much fun it is when our friends win, because we are happy for them. Her name was called up for most creative car. She is a little artist and painted and designed the car, asking her dad to cut out the mouth for her creature. He also cut a hole for her driver in the top. I like this kind of parental involvement...totally kid led.

getting her much unexpected trophy 


  1. I love their cars! Colorful and full of personality-So fun!

  2. After you left, I thought about it and realized we have been going to the race for 5 years, with two of those years being in the hot wheels division. It's been hard to bring our oddly painted cars and set them next to the beautifully painted, artistically made ones and try to keep our hope alive. I like to think that it's good to be who we are, what about the kids who have no parents to help because dad is gone and Mom works. If we didn't fill that Middle void of oddly painted, maybe they would give up too. Our kid's cars play an important role, and I'm thankful for it, plus the life lessons of loosing are so much greater than winning......I mean, I hope, right??? :)

  3. I was extra emotional being over tired. It was really a fun night. It's just hard sometimes.

  4. Peter came home from Awana games in a sober mood, having watched one of his good friends win a trophy. His car was of his own design and very well done, but quite slow comparatively. I know he learns valuable lessons about cheering on friends even when you win nothing, but it is hard to take for an 11 yr. old. I agree with you about competition, but I realize we live in a very competitive world, and somehow our kids will have to figure out how to survive here. So I let them get involved in competitive ventures, but keep watch to make sure they are not getting deeply frustrated or learning bad character traits. You are doing a great job with your kids Angie. Just remember that the real fruit of our labors may not come forth until later on, when they are mature and quite grown up.


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