A strong, obsessive desire to acquire or possess more than what one needs or deserves.
THE most common form of greed involves money.
However I'd like to consider another form: WINNING. Or in other words, always wanting and needing to be THE BEST.
On two separate occasions this week I have seen Grayden struggle with the latter form of greed. He is only 6 so calling him greedy seems a bit extreme, but when it comes to playing games & sports he is obsessed with winning and being the best. So there is really no sugar coating it...He can be greedy.
A few days ago he, Cole, and I were playing a word game called Quiddler (great game btw). There are 8 rounds to this game and by the end of the 7th round he was winning by a huge margin. His score nearly doubled Cole's.
Yet, in the 8th round Cole had a touch of good luck coupled with a smart move and was able to score a ton of points. Grayden, however, had his worst round of the game. When the final scores were tallied Grayden still ended up on top.
Yet he was so distraught by the fact that his last round wasn't better than his brother's that he began to throw a fit; whining and grumbling about how it "wasn't fair" and "his cards were too hard." It didn't matter that he had won, he wanted to win by a landslide and play perfectly in the process. I became very concerned as I saw how greedy he was acting.
Later on in the day we were outside playing. I was running around with Allie and the boys were playing a game of kickball. At one point, I listened to Grayden rattle off the score and it was Grayden-50, Cole-0.
Grayden was of course beaming in delight. Cole was being an excellent sport considering the circumstances (Grayden would have quit long before if the tables were turned). So to help Cole along, I snuck in while Grayden pitched the ball to Cole and stole a kick.
It was a doozy of a kick and I yelled at Cole, "Run Cole-man! Score a run!" He took off, all smiles. It took Grayden so long so get the ball that I yelled for Cole to run the bases again! So cute and excited he said, "Okay" and ran to score another run. As he got safely to homebase he jumped up and down and said, "Mommy, I have 2 points now!" I, of course, happily cheered him on.
But Grayden was not happy. In fact he started complaining and whining, "That isn't fair. You kicked the ball too far. I couldn't get it."
I couldn't believe my ears. The kid had 50 points and his brother literally had 2. What was the big deal? Clear as day I saw the greed seeping from him. It wasn't enough to be winning, he wanted to shut Cole out; a complete butt-whooping.
For days I've thought about these two instances and have grown more distraught over Grayden's greedy desire to WIN and BE THE BEST. This isn't a new problem, we've known for years that he has quite the competitive spirit (a good quality when matured).
I know it's normal for kids to be competitive, so I don't want to read more into this than I need to. Yet I also don't want to ignore it and assume it will just go away.
Here are my big concerns:
- If he cannot learn to humbly & maturely compete, then how will he transition into real life where an immature competitive spirit will get him into tons of trouble (greedy people can't get along with others & they often act foolishly to get what they so desperately desire)?
- What's to become of his heart if he continues to be ensared by this form of greed? How will his relationship with God be affected?
So I ask myself:
- How can I help him to understand that greed is an ugly vice; one in which God rebukes over and over again in Scripture?
- How can I teach him to be a good sport: hard working & driven yet generous and grateful?
Up until now, Keith and I have taken the following strategy: If we beat him enough (in other words if he loses enough games & sports) then he will learn those important lessons about greed, good sportsmanship, etc.
However, I can't help but feel that this strategy can only go so far.
God has to change his heart.
God has to reveal to him the trouble with greed.
God has to show him the balance in competition.
God has to teach him the value behind a generous and grateful competitor.
So I know at this point I need to pray for God's wisdom and for God to move in Grayden's heart. Will you join me today and pray for your own little ones who obsess over winning & being the best!
Your Word says that "A greedy man stirs up trouble, but he who trusts in [You] will prosper." (Proverbs 28:25) So I pray that my kids would trust You in competition. I pray they would have a greater desire for You and for pleasing You rather than for winning and/or being the best.
Also, I cling to the promise in Your Word that the generous person prospers (Proverbs 11:25); so I ask that you would help my kids to be generous in competition.
Furthermore, may they be grateful for the gifts and talents you've bestowed upon them and may they appreciate and value the gifts and talents you've given others...even if that means they aren't "the best." I pray they would hear the message of 1 Corinthians 12 and remember that all parts of the body are equally valued and should have equal concern for one another.
Finally, I pray you would change their greedy hearts and obsession with winning and being the best. May you create in them a pure heart and renew a right spirit within them (Psalm 51:10) I pray you would reveal to them the trouble with greed. I pray you would mature and grow them into strong, humble competitors. And like David, may they be men & women after Your heart (Acts 13:22)
Oh and one more thing, will you give me wisdom and use me to help my children resist the temptation to be greedy? Will you give me opportunity & insight into how I can train them up in the right way...especially in regards to competition.