You Didn’t Get a Trophy? Work harder!
“You’ve done an average, blasé job this year. I’m putting you I for a raise”
“But sir, wait, what?”
Ever had this happen at work? Yeah, me neither (my name’s not Johnson anyway). So why are we treating our kids this way?
Are we really teaching our children anything positive by handing out feel-good tokens of showing up?
There is some merit to handing out ‘participation’ trophies, or better yet ribbons, but it’s better to save the trophies for exceptional actions. Rewards are a means of encouraging our children to do better. They are a means of instilling drive and goals and chasing accomplishments. All of which can be healthy and used for encouragement.
It frustrates me that we’ve made it wrong to “keep score” at events anymore in an attempt to shield our children from losing. Because guess what? Sometimes you lose. Healthy competitiveness is what makes us stronger. It challenges us to improve our skills.
Here’s an idea, find out what your children are good at and encourage them in that area. At 5’9” I was never going to be the next center for the Boston Celtics. Just a fact. Nothing could change that. I played basketball for fun. My parents encouraged me to try other things so I played football and wrestled, both areas where I had sparks of talent (okay, small sparks). Problem solved.
Encouraging our children to discover their talents and then spend the time at excelling has a term attached to it: Good Parenting. The result…stronger and happier kids that know themselves and aren’t afraid to work for what they want.
Keep encouraging your children, the future, our future and theirs, depends on your Good Parenting!
Also published on Medium.