Without exposing children to competition, without educating a child about the importance of success, you are raising a child ill-equipped to deal with the harsh realities of the world. Almost everything in our adult lives revolves around competition. We compete for jobs, for university and college places, for girlfriends and boyfriends. We compete for everything which we acquire.
Nature itself is about competition. Competition is not a by-word for backstabbing or deceitfulness and some appear to believe it. There is such a thing as healthy competition. Likewise there shouldn't be a huge amount of pressure on a child to win constantly. Losing, much like competition, is a fundamental aspect of life and one which everyone will at some point become acquainted with.
Through friendly school-based competition a child learns how to sell themselves, how to promote their qualities and also how to deal with failure and cope with success. It is a process through which the child is made ready for adult life. Exposing children to healthy and moderate competition will not result in stressed and competitive over-achievers but rather well-rounded and successful human beings.
To find a macrocosmic example of the importance of competition one need look no further than the economic marketplace. It is competition between companies that drives innovation and development. Economics scholar Stephen L. Parente attributes the reason for Russia's economic stagnation and China's economic success directly to competition, the lack of it in Russia and the abundance of it in China.
Without competition there is no motive to advance, to develop. Competition is a driving force, one without which the human species would not even exist. As such it is important to allow children to learn the basics of competition, to come to grips with the fundamental principles behind adult life. It is our duty to provide our children with the tools they require to function successfully as adults.