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Competition is familiar to us all. We compete in sports, for jobs, in elections, and in love.  It appears that everything in life is a competition!  I recently sat down with 4 groups of boys and shared with them how to compete and be successful in school, in romance, and life in general.

Can Do – Far too often kids today are heard saying “I can’t.”  While I believe in teaching a healthy respect for ability, attitude is what makes the difference.  If you keep saying negative things you and everyone else will begin to believe that sentiment.  Hold your head up and stay positive!

Own It – A sign of maturity and social success is being able to take responsibility for one’s actions.  We have been patterned to blame someone or something else for everything bad that happens.  However, we are quick to take credit if it is something for which we might receive praise or an award.  The easy path is to blame others.  The success path is to take ownership of your words and actions.

Mean It – It has been said that, at the end of the day, all a man really has is the value of his word.  If you make a promise, keep it.  If you even hinted that you committed to doing something, then honor your word.  We live in a disposable culture that throws away everything that has a little age, rust, dust, or difficulty.  From toys to tablets and marriages to machinery, we toss it away. Keep your word.  Mean what you say.

Please and Thank You – Where have these phrases gone today?  I hear demands more than requests.  We need to teach one another, and especially our children, that using “please” and “thank you” is NORMAL behavior.  Letting the girls go first.  Holding the door for women.  Showing respect for yourself and others.  These are all a part of social lessons that we are losing.  The cost will be our civilized culture as well.

Engage – I tell my ball players every play to be ready.  Boys need to learn to listen and look others in the eyes.  Just like being focused on the play for personal safety and success, staying engaged in class will reap benefits.  Looking your teacher in the eye will shock them in a good way.  Listening to what your “girlfriend” has to say is a critical skill to master.  I know girls talk A LOT, but this will make such a difference in relationships.

Talk and Tell the Truth – Boys and men tend to shorten up their answers.  Psychologists noted that men use about 12,000 words a day compared to the 24,000+ that women do.  My son, when asked about his day at school, has learned to say more than “Fine.”  Teaching boys to express their thoughts and feelings is not making them girls.  It is making them successful men.  Former generations prided themselves on being able to tell stories – some true and some not.  The point is they could communicate.  In our perverse generation, boys are being molested and bullied.  They are threatened if they talk and tell the truth, they will be harmed further.  Our boys must learn to tell the truth.  They are not “ratting out” their friends.  They are engaging in a timeless honor system of truthfulness.

Eat Right and Exercise – America is one the most obese nations.  America is also one of the highest nations with eating disorders.  Junk food is tempting but should be resisted or at least moderated.  The gaming generation has created a problem with boys who do not “play” actively enough.  Drink water not Soda Pop.  Eat fruit not fruit flavored items.  Go for a run.  DO something.

If boys are going to compete on higher levels than little league, we must teach them how.  Hopefully, this has given you a few ideas.