A Lesson Learned From An Eight Year Old!

We all try to teach our children about fairness,
and being good sports.
However I have found that in most cases,
children seen to naturally have these qualities,
so perhaps it is us adults who corrupt them.

The first time I pondered if this were the case,
was a few years ago.
I was teaching a group of swimmers,
who were aged between eight and eleven years of age.
They were at competition level,
and a gala was coming up.

I gathered them together to explain to them,small__6964675479
the upcoming set I was going to give them.
It was a breastroke set.

This was a stroke they did not really enjoy.
So my set was met with much moaning.
I began to tell them how important breastroke is,
to anyone who swims individual medley,
when a small girl of eight spoke up.

“Well, she said, I am very good at butterfly,
and backstroke so I can get way ahead,
then after breastroke I am good at frontcrawl,
so if I had to I’d catch up and win”.

I shook my head.
“No, I said it doesn’t work that way,
if you are good at breastroke,
and quite good at the other strokes,
the breastrokers will win”.

To further drive my point home,
I told them about when I used to race.
“I was good at butterfly and backcrawl, I said,
but when it came to breastroke, I would fly past,
and say so long suckers!”.

At this point my young lady of eight piped up again.
“Excuse me Tric, I don’t think that was a very sporting thing to say”.
I looked at her, remembering my mentoring role!
“Oh I said, I would not actually say it,
I would just pass them and think so long suckers”.

This I’m afraid still did not meet with her approval.
“I don’t think that is a sporting thing to be thinking either”,
she said.
I didn’t know where to go from there.
She continued, “Anyway, it doesn’t matter if you win or loose,
she said, just do your best like that girl you were racing”.

I was a competitor for years.small__4280746396
I knew when I was beaten.
She had well and truly bested me,
in every sense of the word.
I cut my losses, telling them that she was right,
and apologizing for being so unsporting.
I then sheepishly told them their breastroke set,
and continued the lesson.

However over the years our little exchange,
has continued to make me think.
It is good to encourage a competitive nature,
but now I am a lot more careful of how I go about it.
I have watched these swimmers,
cheer on and celebrate each others successes.
I have also seen them look after each other in defeat.
It would seem us adults have a lot to learn from them!
credit: Sum_of_Marc via photopin cc
photo credit: MissMessie via photopin cc

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27 thoughts on “A Lesson Learned From An Eight Year Old!

    1. You have no shame! The same girl is still competing, and still has such character. She is taller than me now, which is not really a great achievement, but I can still hear her cross little voice.

      1. You are correct about my shame, madame, though I should get some credit for not mentioning that I thought your little minion was a disrespectful brat to her wonderful teacher!

        See what I did there?

        1. Yay! Also hate the breast stroke, giggity, but went to high school with an excellent breast stroker who nearly made the US Olympic team. I’m guessing he’d have never made the Irish one either.

    1. No. I write as I speak. Some can be read as poems but all are written more as conversation. My friends tell me they can hear me speaking. Initially I wrote this way, because we are all lazy readers, so I thought at least people could skip and still get the gist of the post. I did think of changing to normal writing but I am not sure. You are the first to ask!

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