Friday, April 17, 2009

Math Olympics

The brilliant pianist and conductor, Leonard Bernstein, was once asked, "What is the most difficult instrument to play?" Without a moment's hesitation he answered, "Second Fiddle!"

Ain't it the truth?

One of the lessons I long to learn AND instill in my children is how to be second best (or third or fourth) with grace and style. Second place can be a great teacher, and when we learn to embrace it, we defeat pride, take more risks, and grow in graciousness.

Not that we should strive for defeat...that's not the point. We should strive for excellence. We should run as if competing for a prize in all things. But when we give our best, and get beat anyways, that still is a holy moment. A moment of truth. An opportunity. A time to shine. It's coming in second that reveals our true colors.

My ultra-competitive (wonder where he got that?) son represented his school in an ACSI Math Olympics today. He didn't want to just do well--he was in it to win it! He was feeling pretty confident going into the awards ceremony, and he looked at me with a hopeful smile when sixth place through third place had been awarded, and only he and one other student were left up front. But when his name was called as the second place winner, he was clearly disappointed.

Disappointed, but still smiling. My Chandler has come a LONG way. A few years ago he would have been in tears. Today he was gracious to others and pleased with (but not prideful of) his own effort.

Way to go, Chan!

No comments:

Post a Comment