Once upon a time, there were a set of twins named John and Daphne. They were the children of a mother runner who sometimes falls under the mantle of "overly competitive." John and Daphne were six years old, two months away from turning seven, with a big sister named Phoebe, who was 10 years old. Most of the time, the children were happy and loved each other greatly--but often they showcased their astounding abilities to bicker.
One weekend, the twins were signed up to run a 500-meter kids' race in a faraway town called Bend in the lovely state of Oregon. They hadn't trained specifically for the race, but all year they'd been running laps around their school. Every Tuesday morning, their mother would watch them and their classmates run and encourage them. Daphne had shown herself to be a dedicated, determined runner, doing lap after consistent lap with one of her two best friends, while her twin brother spent the time expanding his social skills, chatting with clusters of kids and occasionally running.
The morning of the race, the twins' mother pulled Daphne aside and whispered in her ear, "Daphne, I have a great deal of faith in you as a runner," the mother said, "I think you can do really well in it, maybe even win the race. Don't worry about pacing yourself like you do at school--run as fast as you can for the whole race. I'll be proud of you no matter what, but I think you can cross the line first." The mother gave no such talk to John.
When all the five-, six-, and seven-year-olds lined up for the race, the mother and Phoebe held their breath. They exchanged excited, nervous looks. In a flurry, the pack was off. Rounding the corner, about a quarter of the way through the race, Daphne was ahead of John, about 10 children from the lead. With her arms pumping furiously and her legs clipping along, Daphne looked over her shoulder; a pack of children were closing in on her. Even from a distance, her mother could see Daphne switch into a higher gear--and she started to gain on the race leaders, leaving the pack in her dust. Her mother and older sister jumped up and down with glee. Near the halfway mark, the mother and sister could see Daphne catch up with the lead group of runners.
After that point, the mother and Phoebe lost sight of their little racers. They weren't able to see them again until they headed down the finish chute--with John leading Daphne. The mother was astonished, since John had often stopped to walk when he, Daphne, and the mother ran together on Sundays that spring. A tall boy crossed the line first, with a few other boys close on his heels. Moments later, John and Daphne approached the finish line. Steps from the finish, Daphne turned on her afterburners, and she passed John an arm's length from the finish line.
The mother and Phoebe exchanged startled glances. Ever-wise, Phoebe immediately instructed her mother, "We need to tell them they tied; otherwise John will get mad at Daphne." The mother nodded in agreement. Phoebe and the mother waded past other parents and short runners. Greeting John and Daphne, the mother exclaimed, "Congratulations, you tied!" The boy twin immediately corrected her, saying "No, Daphne passed me at the very end--I am so proud of her!"
The mother's eyes filled with happy tears that she'd raised such capable runners--and such supportive siblings.