University of Southern Indiana's student publication

The Shield

The participation trophy generation

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As a child care facilitator, I have single handedly seen what happens to children who earn nothing, but have everything.

The up and coming generations are the ones who have never lost, because losing isn’t part of their world.

Parents have poisoned their minds with the thought that participating is as much of an honor as winning. Participation trophies, improper of discipline, and spoiling are fundamental reasons why the children of today will not succeed in the real world.

When I grew up, I was afraid of getting in trouble, especially for disrespect. Many of my co-workers agreed that they too felt this way. When we misbehaved, we were grounded, spanked, or disciplined in other ways.

Our parents believed that we were most likely the problem and never questioned the care provider. Whereas today, it’s a common theme that the disrespectful child could never possibly be the issue.

The behavior of children these days has me floored.

I’ve heard words and phrases come out of little mouths that even as an adult I won’t say. Children don’t want to do what they are expected to do without reward.

Steelers Linebacker, James Harrison refuses to allow his children to accept participation points. He says, “While I am very proud of my boys for everything they do and will encourage them till the day I die, these trophies will be given back until they EARN a real trophy. I’m not sorry for believing that everything in life should be earned and I’m not about to raise two boys to be men by making them believe that they are entitled to something just because they tried their best…’cause sometimes your best is not enough, and that should drive you to want to do better…not cry and whine until somebody gives you something to shut you up and keep you happy.”

I 100 percent agree with Harrison.

Giving children the world and not making them work for it is not helping them prepare for life. If I don’t successfully do my job, I am fired. If I don’t successfully do my classwork, I fail. I don’t get rewarded with a participation grade or paycheck.

I am terrified of the thought of these children walking around as adults. Not knowing how to deal with loss and disappointment is putting them at a strong disadvantage. Rather than teaching children that failure doesn’t exist, let’s teach them how to deal with it and overcome it.

Michael Jordan said, “I’ve missed over 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost more than 300 games. 27 times, I have been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed it. I’ve failed over and over and over again. That’s why I succeed.”

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University of Southern Indiana's student publication
The participation trophy generation