My daughter, Fia, wanted to be the ring master in the 5th Grade school circus since she was in Kindergarten. Finally reaching 5th Grade, she spent 2 full days carefully writing an essay to the teacher stating why she felt she would be an entertaining ring master.
A week after she submitted the essay, she stormed home after school and went directly to her room. I followed her up where I found her on the floor crying. I sat down beside her and she said, “The teacher said that all the essays were good so she put them into a hat and chose 3 people. It’s so not fair. Jennifer didn’t even write her essay, Lauren did it for her (names changed).”
I would have thought this essay contest to become the ring master would have been a healthy competition and present a great opportunity to teach the children that if they wrote the best essay, they would win. Yet, the school deprived them of this lesson because they are afraid that some children are unable to cope with defeat. I’ve heard at some schools, jump rope isn’t allowed because some kids jump better than others so feelings were getting hurt.
Evidently, this issue of inhibiting competition is pervasive because I hear about it often from other parents. The biggest crime is that we’re depriving our children of one of the biggest life lessons: the ability to learn how to cope.!
Studies on centenarians have found that one of the key factors that contributed to their long lives was their ability to cope. In the book, The Longevity Project: Surprising Discoveries for Health and Long Life from the Landmark Eight-Decade Study, authors Dr. Howard S. Friedman and Dr. Leslie R. Martin invalidate several myths about achieving a healthy and long life. For example, they found that people do not die from working long hours at a challenging job. Just the opposite. Many who worked the hardest lived the longest. It’s not the happy-go-lucky ones who thrive; it’s the prudent and persistent with a strong ability to cope who flourish.
The inability to cope has a myriad of bad effects on our health. For example, when we don’t cope well with a situation, we do things to ourselves that hurt us because we’re unable to deal with the pain. For example, we may turn to smoking, binge eating, drugs, etc.
This is precisely why we developed the JOOS Reboot: to help us cope with the difficulties in life in a productive way. The reason is that we become more mindful of what we eat as we do the JOOS Reboot, which makes us slow down and deal better with the challenging situations in our lives. It can truly be a powerful experience!