Not everyone is a winner, okay?

12 May

This was an email exchange that transpired between me and my friend, Sassy. Enjoy.

From: Sassy
Sent: Thursday, May 12, 2011
To: Me
Subject:

Well my costco dreams for tomorrow night are crushed.  Ginny called, and Emma’s kindergarten graduation is tomorrow night.  Oh well!

From: Me

Sent: Thursday, May 12, 2011
To: Sassy
Subject: RE:

Ok, no problem.

When did they start doing Kindergarten graduation anyway?

From: Sassy
Sent: Thursday, May 12, 2011
To: Me
Subject: RE:

They always have, as far as I know.  I mean I don’t remember mine per se, but R’s was precious.  She and all of her little friends had on fancy dresses.  Emily is wearing a fancy dress too!

From: Me
Sent: Thursday, May 12, 2011
To: Sassy
Subject: RE:

I know I didn’t have one. I can’t remember my brothers having them either.

I do remember we had a sixth grade graduation which I boycotted, because finishing sixth grade was only an accomplishment because I hadn’t killed myself from the monotony.

From: Sassy
Sent: Thursday, May 12, 2011
To: Me
Subject: RE:

Mid Buch still has 8th grade graduation……..um WHY?!?! My sister said it’s because some of them will never finish high school.  Ha ha haaaa.  We have always made fun of Will and Jeff for having an 8th grade graduation.

From: Me
Sent: Thursday, May 12, 2011
To: Sassy
Subject: RE:

Hahah, that is super stupid.

From: Sassy
Sent: Thursday, May 12, 2011
To: Me
Subject: RE:

I know! I don’t get it, at all.

From: Me
Sent: Thursday, May 12, 2011
To: Sassy
Subject: RE:

It’s all a move to make all kids feel “special.” That’s crap. Just because you showed up everyday, doesn’t mean you did anything remarkable to warrant celebration. It makes the kids who do work really hard, or the ones who excel at something feel less accomplished.

From: Sassy
Sent: Thursday, May 12, 2011
To: Me
Subject: RE:

Exactly. It’s just like the “everyone gets a trophy/ribbon for participation” thing.  I hate it! Eventually they’ll quit having The Olympics because it’s not fair for everyone in the world that’s not as fast/good as Olympians to be recognized.  And they’ll stop giving out Caldecotts for books, and Nobel Peace Prizes, etc etc etc.

From: Me
Sent: Thursday, May 12, 2011
To: Sassy
Subject: RE:

Seriously, we must share a brain.

From: Sassy
Sent: Thursday, May 12, 2011
To: Me
Subject: RE:

R’s field day is tomorrow; one of the events she signed up for is the 4X100 meter dash.  I have no idea why, because she has lost her quickness (she was the fastest girl in her class, in KINDERGARTEN!).  BUT she isn’t competitive, and she won’t care if she gets 1st/2nd/3rd place or not, she’s just out to have fun.  And I’m not going to be one of those whiner parents who is mad if she doesn’t get a ribbon if she doesn’t win.  Because THE FASTEST TEAM should get the ribbons! Just like I don’t get a Newbury just because I wrote this email!!!

From: Me
Sent: Thursday, May 12, 2011
To: Sassy
Subject: RE:

From: Sassy
Sent: Thursday, May 12, 2011
To: Me
Subject: RE:

I AM SO EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

From: Me
Sent: Thursday, May 12, 2011

To: Sassy
Subject: RE:

Congratulations!

From: Sassy
Sent: Thursday, May 12, 2011
To: Me
Subject: RE:

I need to thank everyone, so as not to leave ANYONE OUT.

Now, before any of you whiners tell me, “Well you just don’t understand because you don’t have kids,” Sassy does and she feels all of this superficial awarding Johnny because he has a very organized cubby is bunk as well.

Giving kids an award or certificate or medal for participation is bull too.  They just had to show up and they had to either because it was at school or because their parents drug them. They did nothing!

Doing this also does nothing for the kid. It doesn’t teach them sportsmanship. It doesn’t teach them to be a gracious loser. It doesn’t raise their self-esteem. If anything it does the exact opposite of all of those things.

When Johnny gets to actually compete in something where awards aren’t given willy-nilly, a spelling bee or basketball tournament or even a promotion for a job, that box full of bullshit ribbons and medals will do nothing to help him. When Johnny loses the spelling bee, the basketball tournament, or the promotion, he may not know how to take it because he has never been a LOSER before. This is the fault of the grown ups in his life, his maladjustment to reality, I mean.

So, if you are watching your kid lose a soccer game because he has no athletic ability, don’t congratulate him for finishing the game. He is playing so he is SUPPOSED to finish the game, and for Pete’s sake don’t give him a high five for not elbowing anyone when he had the perfect opportunity.  If you do, your kid will forever be a loser.

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4 Responses to “Not everyone is a winner, okay?”

  1. Megan 12/05/2011 at 17:25 #

    I love this. I went to a mental health training last fall for work, and they said that narcissism is on the rise (thank you social networking), and part of it is possibly due to every kid getting awarded for everything. They don’t actually have to build self-esteem. The trainer said that self-esteem only comes after the accomplishment. If your kid is always getting awarded for not doing anything, how are they going to learn to work hard for what they want?

    I never got ribbons from swim meets that I didn’t place in as a kid. There were several times that I didn’t ribbons, and my friends did, and it sucked, but it made me want to try harder. And my parents/coach never congratulated me on drawing in the dirt in the middle of one of my soccer games (while I was the goalie), allowing the other team to score. And there were certainly no high-fives when I was given two free throws during one of my basketball games, and shot two air balls. Instead, there was empathy, and “maybe you should work on that in practice” talks. When I did do well, it was awesome because I knew I had earned it.

    Oh yeah, I didn’t have any of those weird pre-school/Kindergarten/8th grade graduations at my school, either. Nothing until I graduated high school. Thank God, b/c I hate sitting through graduations.

  2. Elle 12/05/2011 at 18:15 #

    Exactly. This has totally gotten out of hand. I see this problem resonating with my students every day. None of them want to work hard. They slack off then they ask for extra credit. Um, no, not happening.
    At the end of the year a lot of teachers give out awards to every student just because. Remember, this is high school!

  3. Larry Navarro 12/05/2011 at 18:50 #

    Hi. I read a few of your other posts and wanted to know if you would be interested in exchanging blogroll links?

    • Elle 17/05/2011 at 09:25 #

      Hi Larry,
      I actually don’t keep a blogroll for this blog publicly. You may add my blog to yours if you wish.

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