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The Race That Matters

Posted Kira Montuori on 3/1/2016 |

Wellness Tips

The other day my daughter asked if she could get a Fitbit. In my head I rattled off 28 reasons why this is a 'FO SHO NO'.  But don’t get me wrong, I think they’re great.  I have one. But the two biggest reasons I thought it was a bad idea for her are:

1. She is nine.  It would pain me to see her tracking and obsessing about anything until much later in life, preferably never. 

2. She can't find her shoes every. single. day. So spending $100 on something that will land anywhere other than where we'll be able to find it sounds like it could just end up being a furthering of my loon bird status.

I then asked her, "Why do you want a FitBit?"  She said, "So and so has one and we want to see who does more activity and I think I'll beat her."  My brain (gung-ho for winning games) was like "Oh, you totally got this!" but my heart, knowing how “Na Na Na Boo Boo” feels, led me to say "Don't you like so and so and wouldn't you like to continue liking her?" 

Because really nothing about this situation felt like it would turn out with both girls laughing, smiling and high-fiving each other. 

I'm not opposed to my daughter seeking to achieve, win, succeed and rise above.  In fact, I strongly and consistently encourage her to do so. I do, though, have deep reservations of doing so at the cost of a friendship.   

My daughter will be heading into middle school before I know it - a freakishly frightening time for all things friends.  Establishing the foundation for friend making, maintaining good judgment versus peer pressure, navigating the ups and downs and learning how to sustain and strengthen friendships is in our FitBit face.  

And this is particularly sensitive to me.  Friends are my blood line - my survival in this life.  They are the Bette Midler wind beneath my often-failing wings.  They are my lifter uppers in the drag-you-down days. They are my celebrators.  They are the first ones to push me off the ledge and Bela Karolyi belt out “You can do it!”  And these are the friendships I hope for my daughter to have.  

But the truth is girls at nine (and every year after) can be competitive.  And it can be ugly and mean and unnecessary. It's easy to get caught up in it too.  Facebook moms do it all the time: “Look, my kid won this big trophy!” or "Look at this project my "kid" did!" (Please note: Not completely innocent myself.)  

Being competitive has its place but the race I really care about my daughter winning is the one with herself.  It's the ONLY race that matters.  And I want her to be surrounded by friends who encourage, inspire and celebrate her along the course.  

Relationships are hard.  I believe in being the kind of friend to others that you want for yourself, then it’s a win-win because friends make the miles in this life worth running! 


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