How special is a trophy they give to everyone?
Here is an article I wrote that was published in my local paper, The Lewiston Tribune. Enjoy:
Hey you, kid. Yeah, I am speaking to you, teenager, as well. Yup, the one who just got handed this article because you don’t need or read the paper.
You need to realize that you have been coddled. Don’t know what that word means? I will clear it up for you: You have been babied. You have had your hand held, been led to believe that everything will be handed to and that you deserve a reward for everything you do.
Life is not like that. It is time to put on your big boy (or girl) pants, no matter your age, and start understanding the real world.
Don’t get me wrong; it is not all your fault. You have been shown that you will receive a trophy in sports for simply participating rather than actually earning a trophy for busting your tail.
If everyone is getting a trophy, does it really make it that special?
A college is not going to let you in simply because you went to class in elementary, junior high and high school. An All-American roster won’t have you on it simply because you played a sport. A boss will not hire you simply because you applied.
Awards and honors must be earned. They should not be handed out to anyone who signs up.
Life is becoming more and more competitive. Getting into college requires excellent grades (4.0s barely cut it), extra-curricular activities (a well-rounded student is much more attractive on paper than just a “student”) and being aware socially with all aspects of your life (colleges now screen all applicants through personal social media sites such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook).
We, the adults, cannot expect that you, a child who has had your hand held your whole life while simply walking, to all of a sudden be let go to run. However, the adults must let go and the children must want to be let go. Falling and getting back up is a part of life and will teach us all something.
You need to be pushed. We, the parents, need to show you that if you want something, you must work for it. We need to push without shoving. It is a fine line but it is one we must walk delicately.
Kids, athletes, students, must be guided, not steered, not held, to show them just how powerful they are. They must learn what they can do … on their own.
You want something? Fantastic. You should. Go work for it. Just showing up won’t get you the top honor, the paycheck, the grades. Gold medalists don’t just show up for training. They attack it. They want to be the best. They want to improve each and every day. Remaining stagnant is considered a loss. Just participating won’t cut it.