It seems there is no better time than right now to share my thoughts on competition and the careful nurturing of a competitive streak among children.
If it wasn't for that competitive streak in young ones there would be no-one inspired to be the next generation of scientific researchers - those people who ponder and find solutions to the challenges of life including globally impacting viruses such as the Coronavirus.
There would also be no-one to step up and strive to be the best in their chosen sport in the Olympics.
And quite simply there would be no-one to set the pace or the benchmark for excellence to which our children, and in fact all of us, can aspire.
But while we may all feel endless pride in our children when they achieve something good - straight A's on a report card, sporting success or an award for excellence in something such as music, dance or art - we need to maintain a level head about those successes...for the sake of our young ones.
Setting our children up to be the best, the champion, the winner, the straight A student has the potential to also set them up for a fall.
I will admit that I have proudly noted the achievements of my children in their youth, and I could often get caught up in the competition associated with achieving those goals.
I also note that while they excelled at some things, they struggled, or at the very least, plodded in some other areas. I would joke with them that no-one could excel at everything because there would be no opportunities for others to shine.
I developed a philosophy, which I always aimed to pass onto my children, that their priority for achievement should be first to be 'their best', not 'the best'. I would remind them that their greatest competition was themselves. Much of that competition came from their level of confidence - regardless of whether they were overconfident or lacked confidence it could be their biggest challenger.
I also always encouraged them to follow their bliss. I still encourage this in their adulthood.
This directive prompted them to identify what they were passionate about and pursue their goal of success in that direction. My message was that if their heart was in the task that was much of what was needed to stay focused and do well.
But I also made sure they understood that while they may excel in a particular area, there was always someone else striving and, quite possibly, achieving better.
You need only look to the results in the Tokyo Olympics to note that every champion has a new and upcoming champion nipping at their heels. There is always someone just around the corner set to achieve the next world record, beating out someone else once identified as "the best."
Now don't get me wrong, I am not saying that everyone should strive to be a world record-breaking champion, or that this is something achieved by my children. However, I believe we need to consider the abilities, goals and achievements of our children with perspective and an open mind that notes others can also excel.
First and foremost we should support and encourage our children in their efforts to be the best that they can be, rather than better than others.
Once more I refer to the Olympics and the competitors who celebrate a personal best, even if they do not win a medal.
Secondly, I think it is important for children to be happy for others in their achievements. Without a doubt defeat is a reality at various points throughout life. Children need to learn to accept defeat as well as they celebrate their successes.
The chance to shine is something that everyone strives to achieve at some point and as one person shines, another will be in the shadows. Dealing with the successes and failures, wins and losses is an important life lesson.
To this end my children were always told to be humble in success and gracious in defeat. Better still, reach out and congratulate a winning opponent even if you are dealing with the disappointment of a loss. That disappointment is understandable, but to dismiss or ignore someone else in their hour of glory is not.
Mumma Jak has three children and is familiar with the challenges of parenthood. She is well aware that every child is different, every day can be different and a parent's approach needs to be different according to the situation at hand. She is happy to say she fumbled through, motivated from the perfect starting point - unconditional love. The good news is that all three of her children have become normal functioning adults.