Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Too Small to Ignore - Chapter 7

WHEN TRIUMPH IS DISASTER ~ freedom from corrosive competition

"It is no pleasure to me to triumph over anyone." ~ Abraham Lincoln

As a Suzuki violin instructor, I have always appreciated the downplay of competition in the Suzuki setting. One of the characteristics of the Suzuki method is to foster cooperation, not competition, among fellow students and teachers. I have been involved in many different Suzuki communities and have found this value to hold true in all of them.

Suzuki students are encouraged not to keep track of what piece they are playing, but rather focus on what technical or musical element they are perfecting. When Wess talked about his coaching experience and how he encouraged the team to focus on perfecting each skill, not keep track of the score, I was reminded of all the similarities I have experienced in the musical world of Suzuki. I have often told perspective students that my priority in teaching their child will be to instill a love of music, not create a professional musician.

Like all the previous chapters, there were many quotes that stood out to me.

"...the point of our game was not to defeat another team by scoring more goals than they did. The point rather was excellence and teamwork in ball handling. Thus the games were a cacophony of laughter, barking dogs, squeals of delight, dust, flashing feet and a ball gone mad." ~ page 113

"Years later and far away from my village, I learned the name of the feeling that gripped our hearts when another suffered. It was compassion." ~ page 114

"As you look at the life of Christ, can you find an instance when he competed with anybody for anything? I can't." ~ page 117

"God's kingdom deserves excellence. It just doesn't need the conquest of anyone except Satan. Competition has its place in society and even in sports. But its most noble, and perhaps only proper, role is to serve as a motivation for excellence. Striving to do anything we do to the very best of our ability is a worthy goal. Competition turns corrosive when it includes the humiliation of one's rivals, who are also just trying to achieve their best performance." ~ page 119

Once again, Wess ends the chapter strong.....

"Competition should be our servant, a mere tool to drive us toward excellence.....Teach the children around you the delicate balance life requires between competition and compassion. Let them know the real victory lies in courageously treating Triumph and Disaster just the same." ~ page 125.

What are your thoughts on Chapter 7?

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