A few weeks ago at school, there was an award ceremony for a reading program they did for grades 1-3. First graders had to read 800 minutes, second graders had to read 1000 minutes, and third graders 1200. The children had five weeks to do it, the minutes had to be read outside of school, and it could be independent reading or having someone read to you.
The majority of the children completed the project, probably less than 25% did not. What surprised me was that the children who did not complete the project still received an award. Is that really fair? And I don’t mean fair to the kids who did it, I mean fair to the ones who didn’t. Why would they strive to complete a project if they can have their name called and get an award in front of the school if they don’t? I realize that reading does not come easy to everyone and that I am very fortunate that Luke does not struggle with it. However, if he did, I would certainly have encouraged and helped him to get through the 800 minutes. It gave him something to be proud of, and I imagine that pride would have been tenfold if he had difficulty doing it.
Then there are sports. I understand why everyone gets a trophy when they are really young. Everyone has a chance to bat and play the field and half the time they don’t keep score. It’s a time for everyone to have the chance to learn the games. But does this continue? When my kids are in fifth grade are they going to receive a trophy for coming in last place? How does that foster drive and competitiveness? Do children care if they lose anymore?
Has our society gotten to the point that we are so worried about someone being upset that they didn’t achieve something that we just allow them to believe that they did? Where does that leave us in twenty or thirty years? Will our children be able to strive to do the hard things that make life worth it or will they be just cruising along expecting to have everything handed to them?
There are parents running up to the school and arguing with the teacher if their child doesn’t get an A. I know they think they are advocating for their child, but is that true? Or is it actually teaching them that they don’t have to work for the things they want?
I don’t know the answers to any of this, but I can’t help but think that we are doing a serious disservice to our youth by walking on eggshells because we are afraid that a parent is going to sue the school or league because their kid didn’t win.
I’m as guilty of spoiling my kids as anyone. But I want my kids to work hard, and although I hate to see them upset, they need to learn that life isn’t easy. I can’t always protect them from heartache, no matter how much I’d like to. They know that as long as they try their best, that’s good enough for me. But they’ll also learn that even when they do try their best, they won’t always win.
What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your opinions!
Until our next adventure,