Giving Up the Hustle of Competition

Our five-year-old and two-year-old are right at that age where they are asking questions like, “But whose castle is the best?” Or “Who won the race?” Underlying these questions is their desire that they matter. They want to know what is required for being worthwhile.

In our capitalistic, hustle-driven society it would be easy to fall into the trap of competition saying that one of them is better than the other by judging their creations as better and not as good. To be certain, they will encounter this mentality as they enter their school-aged years with end-of-the-school-year awards and field days, and little league. But for just a little while, I want to savor their creativity and not their ability. I want to create space for collaboration and not competition.

I’m giving up the hustle of competition.

I was reading Henri Nouwen a couple of days ago and he puts it this way:

You have to be really aware of the difference between fruitfulness and success because the world is always talking to you about your success. Society keeps asking you: ‘Show me your trophies. Shoe me, how many books have your written? Show me, how many game did you win? Show me, how much money did you make? And there is nothing wrong with any of that. I am saying finally that;s not the question. The question is: ‘Are you going to bear fruit?;

When we concentrate not on success but rather on fruitfulness, then we recognize the ebb and flow of seasons. We honor the time of waiting to see what is happening underground. We plant and weed. We toil not to compete, but to bring forth nutrients and sustenance to our family and to others. The whole goal of our work is for future nourishment. There is no finish line because it is the cycle of life drawing us in. We watch the weather because we know that the weather matters. We watch the ecosystem surrounding the planted seed because we know that soil matters.

I’m giving up the hustle of competition.

Instead, I’m planting seeds…of hope, of love, of compassion in myself and in our children. I can’t wait to see what fruit blossoms.