Monday, December 16, 2013

In the real world, NOT everyone wins the same PRIZE!

Chatting with a group of moms over student of the month awards a couple went into a rant about how every kid gets an award at the end of the soccer season and how this isn't actually fair. Both complained about how this makes kids more entitled. Every kid believes they're worthy of a trophy even if all children contribute at a different level, in different sports, having different strengths and talents.

I didn't say much. I guess I've never thought much about this idea of rewarding every child with an equal trophy at the end of any organized sport.  Then I reflected. My son loves soccer. He's talented and strong for his age. He deserves an MVP every season, in my book. He gets the same trophy as everyone else. And that's been fine. 

Then there's the year he played baseball. He really didn't understand the game. He'd run around the diamond from third, to second then first while still holding the bat. He basically didn't even have the basics down. He hated practice and did more chatting on the outfield than actually catching baseballs, but at the end of the season, just like with soccer, he got that same baseball trophy like every other little slugger on the team.

I understand that in today's society children's feelings become the forefront of recognition. The whole idea of not singling out the "best" of the bunch is to ensure all feel praised and no feelings are hurt. All kids did contribute after all. I get that. But the real world isn't like this. At some point kids will learn that not everyone gets an A, wins MVP, or makes the varsity squad. I believe failure will be such a great learning mechanism for my children. Just as success plays a part in how we grow and learn, so does failure, or in this case, lack of recognition. 

Yet I'd be the first to admit that I'd be darned if I was coaching any kid's team and decided to single-out the top scorers or those who appear most talented. Then again, I didn't care to reinforce this idea that everyone wins just because. I say we stick with everyone gets recognition, but not all recognition is equal. So one kid gets "top scorer!" If he was the child with the most points/goals/etc., well why not? Then there's the kid in little league like mine who quickly learned the right way to run around a baseball diamond and drop the bat before running to first base. There really would be no shame in awarding him a "most improved" certificate! He surely did improve and that's worth something.

In the end, I suggest awarding all children, but awarding them honestly. Now this is subjective, I know, but it's also honest. Every child adds something to the team. Every single one brings a unique gift. That something could come in the form of team spirit, a dedication to learning, or an ability to improve. True recognition reminds a child of what they genuinely contributed since not every child can technically be the top scorer. Besides, not always landing at this pseudo first place gives every child something to strive for. 

Comment and tell us, what's your take on this idea that every child gets the same recognition/trophy upon completing an organized sport?

1 comment:

  1. This article addresses this sensitive issue. Praise can be positive for a child, but should be done specifically. Check it out. http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/AmericanFamily/story?id=2877896&page=1

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