I have to admit, I gave up on Addie having any shred of a competitive bone in her body long ago. For all I knew, this curly headed kid of mine was all puppy dogs and sunshine 24 hours a day 365 days a year, which is almost the complete opposite of what I’m like.
When it comes to being compassionate, Addie seems to fit the definition of the word, which isn’t a bad thing at all. However, like most parents, I want Addie to adopt at least a touch of my characteristics. And in this case, I wanted Addie to adopt some of my competitiveness.
A few years ago while we were still living in Salt Lake City, Casey’s mom asked me to transport a dishwasher for her from someone’s apartment to her house. She had been remodeling her kitchen and she found a slightly used dishwasher that she wanted to install. The only catch was that she had to pick up the dishwasher from the apartment where the dishwasher’s owners lived.
Casey’s mom had borrowed a dolly cart from someone and had me drive her in my truck to the apartment. I carted that dishwasher from the apartment to my truck and set it down just behind the car. My mother-in-law looked at the dishwasher and said, “Huh, I didn’t even think about how we were going to get it into the back of your truck.”
That comment was fine, but it was the next comment that got my competitive juices flowing. She said, “We’ll have to call so and so to come help you lift the dishwasher into the truck.” She then pulled her cellphone out of her pocket, turned around, and began dialing a number. She didn’t ask me if I could load the dishwasher. She didn’t ask me if I knew of a way to get the dishwasher into the truck. She just assumed I couldn’t do it. So, while she wasn’t looking, I bent down and picked up the dishwasher and set it in the back of the truck. No way was I going to let me mother-in-law decide I couldn’t get that dishwasher into the truck without me even getting a chance to try first.
That competitive fire has been with me throughout my entire life—especially in sports.But I haven’t seen any of that fire in Addie. She goes to gymnastics and she dinks around as she practices the things her instructors are teaching her. I’ve watched as her instructors have her do something and she does it very well, and then they ask her to do it again and she’s too busy playing around. The whole time I’m wondering why she doesn’t have that competitive fire to be the best in her class, because she has the ability to be the best in her class if she put forth the effort. I’m sure some of this is parental pride, but the kid looks to be pretty talented when it comes to gymnastics.
These dink around sessions at gymnastics have led to conversations with Addie about practicing pushups and pullups and handstands, but I can never get her to practice those things. If she’s going to practice anything, it’s going to be while she’s screwing around and bored and is just interested in doing cartwheels while watching a movie.
The other day our family was at a park and Addie washed away my fears. Vivi was going down the slide over and over again. Addie had been jumping off the highest platform onto a pole and sliding down the pole to the ground. The platform was well above my head, so Addie had quite the slide down. Another boy who was about Addie’s age went up to the pole and started climbing up the pole. He was clearly trying to show off. There was Addie sliding down the pole and he was going to show her that going down the pole was for little kids and girls, and that climbing up the pole was for big kids and boys.
The only problem with his little plan? He only made it halfway up the pole before he couldn’t go any farther. When the boy gave up and jumped down, Addie walked over to the pole and started to climb up the pole. My initial reaction was to tell Addie not be a jerk by trying to show up another kid. Then I realized my kid’s competitive fire was shining through and I got the biggest grin on my face.
I silently cheered for Addie hoping she could make it to the top of the pole. It’s tough to describe the amount of pride I had in Addie when she was only halfway up that pole. It proved to me that she had that competitive fire in her and had the ability to let it out whenever she wanted. There will be a day in the future, hopefully in high school, where Addie will use her competitiveness again and I’ll be sitting in the bleachers playing the part of her biggest fan.
Not that it’s all that important, but my kid made it to the top of that pole on her first try without any problem.
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