Champions vs. Participants

I am sure you have seen the commercial out that the father and son are walking to the car with a trophy.  The father looks at the trophy to see that it says “participants”.  The father’s internal dialogue refers to the fact that his son was a champion, not a participant, and that they shouldn’t get the same thing as all of the other players on all of the teams.  So he removes the sticker, and replaces it with a handwritten “champions”, handing it to his son, who thanks his father.

Huge dig, right?  So many of the thoughts out there now are that everyone should win, and let’s not hurt kids feelings because it could be detrimental to their confidence.  I say screw that.  If we do that, we are going to create a word of wussies.  Yes, I said wussies.  You can tell how I feel about it.

You hear all the time about the kids whose parents let them win.  Then, when they are playing with their friends, and they lose, they flip their shit.  That’s a really easy way to lose friendships.  And to be honest, as adults, we know that’s not how the world really works.  We lose all the time.  We don’t get the promotion, we have a flat tire and have to call a tow truck, we lose our keys for the upteenth time.  Things don’t magically change for us, we have to adjust and utilize the skills we have to work through it.  We don’t give up or take our ball and go home.  We move on, because we are still trying to win.  Maybe that’s what really drives us.  The idea that winning could still be out there and we just have to keep going to get there.  And when we do get the top, we keep going regardless because we know we can always do better.  So if our kids are always winning, will they ever know what it’s like to build confidence?  If it’s already handed to them, they don’t have to try.  They don’t have to work hard to make it in their childhood, so why would that change when they are adults?

Yes, I am saying let your kids fail every now and again.  Don’t let them win just because.  Make them want things and have desire, because desire will make them stronger, more confident, independent humans.  We know how the world works as adults (or so we think, but we’re learning, too), so why not let them figure it out, too?  We should guide them so they don’t fuck up royally, but we can’t let them get things handed to them.  In the real world, that doesn’t happen.  We are all participants, but we can’t all be champions.

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