The following is a re-post of an article I wrote eleven years ago. I seriously doubt the outcome of such a contest would be the same today.
“When I say ‘three’ Daddy, we are going to race to the car.”
This familiar challenge came from my five-year-old son. His eyes danced with the anticipation that once again he would “beat” Daddy in this little tradition we have.
No doubt the day will come–and sooner than I would like to think–when he will actually be able to beat me in a race. For now, however, I hold the speed advantage. I usually let him win. He gets a kick out of the big show I put on of being too exhausted to make it to the end as his short little legs carry him past me on his way to “victory”.
As we took off, I decided that I should probably let the little guy know that his old Dad still has it in him. I’m sure ego had something to do with it as well. I mean, a man’s pride can only take being beaten by first-grader for so long.
As we sped toward the car, I stretched out my legs and easily covered the distance, leaving Mikey in the dust. Having won a crushing victory, I immediately felt guilt pangs. Had I damaged his ego? Had I disappointed my son?
I turned around just as he came chugging up. His eyes still danced with glee, a big smile on his face.
“You win! Now you are happy! Good job, Daddy!” A giggle rippled out of him like a bubbling brook, and he opened the door of the car to get in. I stood for a moment to collect my emotions.
My son was just as happy that I had won as he would have been if he had been the victor. There was no regret, no pouting–just unadulterated joy and happiness for my victory. The fact that he had lost made absolutely no difference to him.
Later, as I reflected on that event, I was reminded of what Paul says in his letter to the Philippians:
Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. (Phil 2:3-4, NKJV)
I remember vividly the feelings of jealousy that would creep into my heart when, while on deputation, I would hear of fellow missionary candidates who had been approved for the field.
Today I hear of things being accomplished by other missionaries, and I wonder why I cannot be involved in something like that.
Without knowing it, my son taught me today how to view the successes of others without wishing that they were my own.