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Striving Together for Something Greater

The typical definition of competition is the notion of a contest between two or more living organisms. For example, in the case of bacteria or plants, these organisms may be in competition for space and sunlight. In the Animal Kingdom, there is often competition observed in the form of territorial behaviour or in seeking a mate. In our society, humans come across competition in many facets of life, including work and business, as they try and secure an advantage over others.

Although this is all true, we need to look at the true definition of competition. The word “compete” comes from the Latin word competere, which means to “strive in common, or strive after something in company with or together.”

In order to develop compassion in a society that focuses on the more widely-accepted notion of competition, it is important to guide the students to understand that compassion is positively correlated to the true meaning of competition, and that these two ideas are NOT diametrically opposed.

The Upper Elementary students welcomed opportunities to strive together in leadership roles that were presented to them in February. This month, the students facilitated a sold-out Movie Night fundraiser, led a charismatic school assembly on Sportsmanship, and assisted Ms. Kate in conducting well-organized Casa and Lower Elementary Sports days.

The Upper Elementary students cleverly expressed the idea of striving together through the creative poems they shared during the February assembly. Their floetry pieces focused on positive attributes that are demonstrated through excellent sportsmanship. A moving video was shown to the audience of athlete Alastair Brownlee stopping towards the end of the 2010 Triathlon World Championship to pick up his brother, who had stalled and was struggling near the end, and support him to the finish line. In doing so, Alastair forsook the chance to come in first place for the chance to act with compassion, and exemplified something better than personal gain.

During the Casa and Lower Elementary Sports days, the Upper Elementary students embodied this inspiring message as they helped younger members of the MBTS community. Constant encouragement to strive together and for everyone to keep trying to improve and give their best efforts was the focus.

Opportunities such as these will hopefully inspire the children – and all of us – to become better global citizens, as we learn to truly appreciate the correlation between compassion and competition. With this outlook, we can strive together – not just to succeed, but to find something that’s far greater than excellence.

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