I understand that your kids are young and you want to support them, but please, please, PLEASE stop giving out participation awards and telling your kids that they are good at something when they clearly suck.
Have you ever heard the saying “nobody remembers second place”? Well these days we’re supposed to not only remember second place but reward every single place – even the kid who’s still on the starting blocks staring at the sky with a finger up their nose.
I wish the education system rewarded me for just turning up to class and sitting in class with my finger up my nose instead of actually doing work.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally for encouraging children to try their best and achieve great things. But there’s a difference between praising your kid for trying and not quite getting there, and praising your kid for being a lazy shit who puts in a lacklustre effort because everybody tells him that he has done great.
The world is competitive and doesn’t wait for second place. We educate and train our kids from the moment they are born to ensure they have the tools to get through life. Yet when it comes to certain things, we let them stumble through and reward them for not even trying. When you teach children that just showing up is good enough, you’re literally training them to not bother because you are too scared to let them experience a vital part of growing up – disappointment and loss.
You are saying “Hey kids it doesn’t matter if you win but if you win that’s great and you get a prize but it’s the same prize as everybody else gets for not winning but you are special for winning but these kids are also special for losing and lets all have a big hug because everybody is special…”
These kids are going to get one hell of a shock later in life. High schools don’t reward people for taking part, universities don’t pass out degrees to people who just show up, and my boss definitely doesn’t smile and give me a trophy for just showing up to work but not bothering to do anything.
At no point in human history did evolution give participation awards to people who weren’t quite good enough. When caveman Johnny didn’t bother trying to catch dinner, he didn’t get rewarded, he died.
Caveman Dave on the other hand put in the effort and did catch dinner so he lived and passed his genes on to his little cave children who also survived because they weren’t lazy little shits who got a reward for watching dinner as it ran past them.
These days catching dinner by whacking it over the head with a giant bat isn’t quite as important for survival, but the same importance needs to placed on having a good work ethic and trying hard.
All we are doing by rewarding nothingness is raising a generation of self-entitled brats who expect everything for nothing. It’s already happening. Don’t believe me? You only have to hop online and take a quick look around. There are people who literally ask for money from strangers for doing nothing so that they can continue their lives doing nothing because they think the world owes them something.
If your kids suck at something, be supportive and encourage them by all means, but don’t reward them. Instead of saying they did brilliantly, tell them they didn’t try as hard as they could have and encourage them to do better next time or even better, encourage them to try something else until they find something they are good at.
They might actually enjoy it.