It’s crazy how fast the video of Eli Manning’s facial expression near the end of the Super Bowl spread throughout social media. What’s more amazing is the assumption that he was somehow disappointed that his brother was about to win a second ring like him. I’m sure most just spun it that way for laughs, but I think many really believed he was jealous. His brother, Peyton, was later asked a question making a comparison to Eli and the number of Super Bowl rings. I love his response:

We don’t do that. That’s not what we do. Maybe you guys, your brothers do that. That’s not what we do.

As a father of two boys, I respect the Manning brothers. Or better yet I respect their parents, who obviously taught them to be fans, not rivals. That’s the same approach Jill and I have taken with our boys. We want competition to lead to construction, not destruction. Here are a few things you’ll find in the Reed house:

  • We celebrate wins, big and small. Every step forward is a victory worth cheering. In our house, you’ll hear us saying “You did it!” and “Awesome dude!” You’ll see us giving fist bumps and high fives and we encourage the boys to do the same for each other.
  • We create a culture of encouragement instead of discouragement. Instead of saying that was a “bad” catch, we try to say you “almost” got it. Misses are “so close.” Good effort is encouraged with “way to go!”
  • We try to steer clear of comparisons by
    • Minimizing superlatives. When interacting with family, whether in a game or playing, we try to avoid words like “better” or “best” in reference to each other.
    • As parents, avoiding comparative references to the other sibling. Correction, learning lessons and guidance is directed solely to each boy without references to what the other brother does or doesn’t do well.

It’s not like this kind of approach to raising kids is novel or hasn’t been done before, but in ministering to teens over the years, we’ve seen how sibling rivalry tears families apart. Teddy Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” I’d say it’s also the thief of relationships. Our hope is that our boys take a cue from Eli and Peyton and celebrate and encourage each other rather than be jealous and discouraging. We want them to be each other’s biggest fans. And when others begin to compare, they simply say, “That’s not what we do.”

Author Matt

I'm a husband, father, leader, and geek whose time is wrapped up in faith, family, film, and travel. I guess I'm a little like the equivalent of a utility player in baseball. I'm happy with not being the best at something as long as I'm always trying to get better.

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