It’s important to let your son excel against you in certain activities. A young man needs to be “certified”. He needs to be “certified” as a man. This certification should come from his father. There must be other ways to achieve it, but the most natural, and perhaps the most gratifying way comes through the father.
I can certify that my boy is becoming a man in three ways: (1) with saying the right words, (2) with delegating the right responsibilities, (3) or with allowing him to excel me in the right activities. Point three is particularly important: while these activities in themselves do not have to be especially significant (on the surface), they are especially important when performed in front of others.
Here is an example (it’s personal and specific; but it conveys the point): When I am with my son in front of a group of young men throwing knives, it’s better for me to be a bit careless, to throw well enough, but not as well as I can. I want him to do better than me, and he will soon enough. But part of “getting him there” is building his confidence.
Raising sons is a high art. It requires sacrifice. While most fathers think of sacrifice as the work they do on behalf of their family, or the luxuries they go without for the sake of their family, it may be that the greatest (and most difficult) sacrifice is our own egos. We need to lay our ego down, or we will raise our son with a need inside to prove himself. Much of the foolishness, and much of the harm in this world, comes out of the need for a young man to prove himself.