Gambling or just healthy competition? 

By Paige Nash

Louisiana easily makes the top ten on numerous “Most Popular Places to Gamble” lists. Trailing not far behind Atlantic City, New Jersey and Las Vegas, Nevada.  

Of course, my children are too young to gamble or even know what gambling is, but it seems like my oldest might have figured out how to make a career out of it and a sure-fire way to make sure she is on the winning end, every time.  

We went camping this past weekend and I try to keep the electronics at a minimum on our trips, so we were looking for ways to entertain ourselves. Emerson suggested playing tic tac toe. After a few rounds, apparently the game began to bore her, so she decided to spice things up a bit by placing a bet on the next game. 

“If I win you have to give me a dollar,” Emerson said.  

I was intrigued and decided to play along, so I asked, “Well what do I get if I win?” 

Emerson smartly replied, “You get to keep your dollar.” 

She started to become offended when I laughed at her for a straight five minutes. She did not understand why that was so funny. When I explained that wasn’t the way placing a bet on things worked, I think I confused her even more. 

I couldn’t help but to think to myself, ‘It seems she may have inherited my competitive nature.’ It can be borderline unhealthy at times, especially when it comes to an exciting game of Uno. In all seriousness though, I know being competitive to an extent can be a great advantage in life.  

Allowing children to play sports or encouraging them to participate in clubs and activities will help them establish a healthy competitive nature. This will be tremendously beneficial when they grow up and work toward a job or a promotion.  

Which brings me to my final point. When children receive a participation award for everything they compete for or when they see everyone receiving a trophy when they did not put in the hard work like everyone else, it gives them the impression that competition isn’t important, that they can do the bare minimum and still be rewarded. 

So, as much as Emerson may hate it after I won that game of tic tac toe, and she became aware of the fact that she indeed had to pay me a whole dollar, it was good for her.

(Paige Nash is a wife, mom and digital journalist for Webster Parish Journal.)

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