“You’ll never be the best at anything. The world is a big place with millions of people; it’s impossible to be the best. Just do your best, and you’ll be fine.”
We often get encouraged not to compare ourselves to others, or to compare someone to somebody else. We understand that individuals are exactly that... individual. Yet something in our make-up as humans always brings as back to this critical thinking.
As Gymnastic Coaches we all too often see children in our classes compare themselves to other gymnasts in their group. Before even trying an activity, they have already made a judgement of their own ability and their skill expectations... set entirely around another class mate's skill attempt.
As Coaches it is our job to set an environment that encourages safe risk taking and nurtures ALL attempts. Regardless of the outcome, technique, form or ability level. Every achievement... is a GREAT achievement no matter how small! The trouble is getting our young gymnast to understand this.
From the perspective of a child it can be extremely frustrating when you are not as "capable" as another student. As adults we can understand there are other determining factors that may determine why an individual might be progressing at a faster rate. They could be involved in a multitude of sports and after school activities. They might train more than once in a week. They may of been training for years before you even started! As a child none of this information is relevant or even thought about. All they can understand is what they are witnessing right in front of them. Someone is "better" than them, and it's not fair.
As adults its our role to help model a healthy way to deal with self criticism, comparison and critique. If around the home you are comparing things or people, they will take on this behavior as well. If you vocalize how one footy player for example is better than another due to X,Y,Z. Then there is a good chance that your little "information sponge", by that I mean your child, will notice that the better performing sportsman gets the higher praise while the other gets critiqued.
I know there are going to be times when comparison is going to be helpful and help keep a gymnast motivated and goal orientated! The issue there, is finding the line between inspired & obsessive. I have witnessed gymnasts who are brand new to the sport and have this ultimate will power to keep pushing themselves until they are impressive little tumbling machines. I have also seen older gymnast who see a brand new gymnast with all this motivation, and get disheartened because this new athlete is somehow gaining up to their ability level uncomfortably quick.
My point being comparison is not inherently evil or bad. It is the behaviors following the comparison that will determine if this mind set is healthy or not. As adults we need to be aware of what these behaviors look like and how we can prevent them from becoming destructive.
Signing off for now,
Humans are social creatures and require face-to-face interactions to develop, thrive and be happy. The relationships you form through out your life will directly nourish your developmental progress. These relationships are critical to the development of life skills such as empathy, communication, self behavioral management, emotional control, impulse control, body language, perception of non-verbal communication.
Facial expressions, gestures and body language make up a huge portion of communication that is non-verbal. If you remove these aspects from a conversation, it is very easy to be misdirected or have a miscommunication.
It takes years of interaction experiences for a child to grasp this concept. They need opportunities and exposure for them to master this skill! Your child will rely heavily on you, siblings and friends as a means of practice.
Have you been out and about and noticed an adult who may be sitting using their phone while a child in their care is off exploring, playing or trying to get their attention? From the outside looking in it is a lot easier to notice these things. Self reflection is a good first step to identifying what can be improved. Being able to identify how much time is being given to a child is a great asset to posses. There is nothing wrong with using technology in our day to day lives - in moderation of course!
Alternatively it might not be technology at all that is distracting. It could be your energy levels, your mood or having a long list of tasks that need to be completed in a short period of time.
Self awareness in this regard will not only benefit yourself, it will also benefit those around you - including that little human desperately begging you to watch them.
During a child's gymnastics class it is incredibly tempting to utilize that time to get work done or have personal time. Especially if they are in an 60+ minute long class. What a beautifully productive time slot that can be! However it can also be a very disengaging time, if you aren't making the effort to be apart of the spectating experience. I'm not saying you should sit with your nose pressed up against the window for a full 2 hours. If you usually drop your child off, and return at the end of class and rarely step foot inside of the building... maybe walking in with them for time to time will strengthen that relationship. If you pick them up from gymnastics, but usually sit in the car... maybe consider watching the last 15 - 5 minutes of their class. Making that little bit of extra effort to watch sections of the class from time to time will make for the perfect post class discussion with your child - they will be more likely to be engaged with the conversation as well as it is personal to them.
The more interaction you have with a little one, the more they will benefit! The more they will learn and have the chance to grow into a self reliant human being. So get out there, be present and enjoy the day with a little human!
Signing off for now,