What F1 can teach your child

Singapore just completed hosting the world’s only Formula One night race for the third consecutive year. The event brought close to a 100,000 visitors to our shores and an estimated $100 million in revenue. More than that, its success sealed Singapore as a prime destination for hosting international sport meets and gathering of people from all over the world.

Despite the various economic benefits that come with hosting the F1, it does not change my mind about the sport itself. To me it will always be a rich man’s indulgence, a contributor to air and noise pollution and not to mention the damage inflicted on our roads.

Nevertheless as I sat in front of the television with my five year old son to catch this annual event, I realised there are important life lessons a mother can teach her children even through the race.

It doesn’t matter how well you start but how well you end. My son is at the stage of his life that everything revolves around him and his agenda. It can be very taxing to remind and discipline him when he keeps insisting on coming first before his siblings.

Typically in a F1 race, competitors have to complete 61 laps of the circuit and anything and everything can happen such that the first can be last and the last can be first. (Much like the Christian theology.) I found it interesting that I was able to show how Mark Webber was able to clinch third position from his initial 9th place through a series of good manouevres and opportunities.

I hope he understands that ultimately life is a marathon and not a sprint and even if he demands to be first now, he needs to be prepared that he may not always be so. Not to quell his ambition but rather to help him cope with life’s uncertainties. Likewise, even if he starts off behind, through patience and hardwork, he can become first. Of course only God knows what is in store for him and I pray he learns to trust God with his life.

After Lewis Hamilton crashed out of the race midway, we witnessed him throwing his vehicle control and snapping his drink line in a fit of anger and frustration. I took this opportunity to explain to my son that it is perfectly alright to be angry at situations or people. But it is the manner in which we behave when we are angry that makes the distinction between right and wrong.

As children grow older, people become less forgiving when they lose control of their emotions. It becomes increasingly important to teach them self-control and that it is never okay to damage things or inflict pain on other people when you are upset or angry. In fact, many of the world’s problems can be summed up by our lack of self-control with regards to anger, greed, envy and lust. So perhaps even as adults, we can pick up some truths watching cars race around a circuit 61 times.

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