Saturday, January 13, 2007

Competitive Nature

My son is now at an age where he enjoys playing games. We play War, Go Fish, Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders, Monopoly Jr and our latest addition, Blokus. To say he is competitive is an understatement. The kid plays to win. And he does not like to lose. This should be no surprise, he was born of gaming genes. My dad, my siblings, aunts, uncles and grandparents are/were all gamers. It is in our genes, our very DNA has a code somewhere that screams GAMER. The more I thought about it recently the more I realized how God is rewiring me.
Any of you that have known me for any length of time know, I love to play games. Any kind of game. Word, board, strategy, card; if it is a game chances are I like to play it. Along with this comes a competitive nature. Competitive to the core. I recall one New Year's Eve playing the game of Risk with 5 guys. I was kicking booty. Along with the success came trash talk and belittling of those at the table. Calling them boys and such. I recall it really rubbing one of the guys the wrong way. The reality was he was also competitive. So we clashed. I ran the game and ended up conquering the world that night. Yeah me! A boost to my already proud gaming mind.
Truth. I excel at games. They come natural to me and so I often cream the competition whether I intend to or not. Truth. I have not always been gracious in my winning. Truth. God is doing a work in me in this very area.
I did not realize it at first. Then I went camping this summer with all of my family, aunts, uncles, siblings; the whole kit-n-kaboodle. This has always been a time for me to enjoy some true competition and game to my hearts content. It was near the end of the week when I realized it. I had not played A SINGLE GAME, the entire week. With the exception of calling Bingo numbers for the family bingo, I had not played any games. At first I was completely surprised by this. Me gamers of all gamers had not played a game in peek game playing territory! What was up? Then the Lord showed me he was doing a work. He had taken the competitive must win attitude from me. The one that has potential to destroy relationships. I still enjoy games, don't get me wrong. I love a good game. But my attitude has changed. I want to see others excel. I want to enjoy the fellowship as much as the engaging of my mind. My current favorite game is Apples to Apples, that's about as uncompetitive as you can get when it comes to group games. I love the laughs that come with it as people interact.
I think the Lord has taken the competitive nature and shown me how to rechannel it into passion. Right now there are many things I am passionate about. Games is not one of them.
I have to smile when I watch my son. I know what drives him. He reminds me of how I used to be. Maybe it won't take him as long to figure out how to be a gracious winner or a non-pouting loser. I pray he can grasp those things early on. I am thankful I finally got it into my head and my heart. Winning is not everything. But living passionately for the Lord IS!


Karen Hossink said...

You're right on with the thought about what's really important.
This is an area in which we're struggling, that is in passing on the fun of playing and teaching our son how to both win and lose graciously.
He gets VERY upset if he loses, and you think, "Why did I say I'd play this game with him?!" If he wins, life is good. If not, look out! I keep asking the Lord to lead me as I train this little guy, and I have to trust He'll do just that!

Anonymous said...

You are absolutely a gamer BIG time and calling you VERY GOOD doesn't say it by half. But ... getting that obsession to win reigned in is a good thing indeed. Just don't ever go so far as to think you have to let the old man win. LOL

Linds said...

I banned Risk years ago in my house. The competition was too much, and it usually ended up with someone tossing the board in the air. Usually the person losing! But we all love games as a family, and so do our friends.

Anonymous said...

Let me know when you are up for some non-competitive, laugh a lot game of Apples to Apples?

You know me...I am NOT a gamer. Never have been, never will be. But I do enjoy a fun game like Apples to Apples!!

Bek said...

you know i've been wondering about this competitive thing myself lately....i was always taught that "healthy competition" is a good thing....i too played lots of games growing up, including athletics, played for blood, etc.....and it seems, i've noticed more and more recently, that a competitive spirit often has bad makes me wonder about the tree....not sure about this, still asking Him...but it is interesting to see somebody else wondering about the same issue...

Anonymous said...

I will now play board/card games with you again.

Love ya!