I knew we were on a slippery road to no good several years ago when my (then) four year old youngest of five came off the soccer field after his first game and told us the coach told them there are no losers; they were all winners. Then at the end of that same got-our-butts-kicked-every-game-season everyone got a trophy.
This may not seem like a bad thing given these kiddos were only four years old and I may sound like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Mom but this mentality has slowly crept into our society, much to our demise. We’re creating spoiled kids who grow up never learning how to lose. I’m sorry, but not everyone can win. Such is life.
We have a pay to participate for sports at the junior high and high school levels where my kids attend school. Somehow this has been interpreted that if I pay then my kid should play….equally. Doesn’t matter if a kid has never touched, hit or kicked a ball in his life. What happened to practice hard, play hard, learn the skill and the best group for that sport represents your school on game day?
This creates such a lazy, I-don’t-have-to-work-hard-to-get-better attitude. I was talking with a coach a couple weeks ago and she was telling me about how her group of kids was goofing off in practice all the time. “They don’t have to try because they think their parents paid for them to play so they’ll automatically get equal playing time.” This is what happens when the monkey’s start running the zoo.
Everyone’s a winner.
When I was a sophomore in high school I did not make the cheerleading squad for the first time since second grade!! Do you want to know why? I didn’t put the time and effort into doing what needed to be done to make the squad. We were required to put together our own cheer, which I did but not very well because I had always made the team before…I thought it was a given. I drew to go first and could hardly breathe enough to whisper my half butted cheer let alone lead the judges in a pep rally cry! I didn’t make the team because I sucked and didn’t deserve to make the team! Did I have to face the looks and whispers of my peers at school the next day? Yep. And I survived, having learned some very valuable lessons.
This everyone’s-a-winner has catapulted into teachers being told not to use red ink to grade little Sally’s paper because it will hurt her self-esteem. Ask my girls how red ink on their AP English papers HELPED them to become better writers! Did it take hard work and determination? Absolutely! Did they respect that teacher and WANT to do better in her class? YES they did!
Or how about when teachers aren’t allowed to lower a student’s grade when it’s been turned in late, even though the syllabus and dates were laid out, because the parents called and complained? Homework had to be accepted no matter how far they missed the cutoff date. How about letting little Johnny (who is in now high school mind you) suffer the consequences and get his rear in gear the next time a paper or homework is due?
When Nate was in 8th grade he was getting a D in math on his interim. We were concerned as he told us he “just wasn’t getting it” so we scheduled a conference with his teacher. Come to find out (confession is good for a teenage boys soul) that he wasn’t not getting it; he wasn’t doing or turning in his homework. (We found this out literally moments before our conference.) Did we yell at the teacher about why she wasn’t encouraging poor little Nate to turn in his work? Um. No. He lived but as I recall, there was some pretty harsh repercussions for our young man.
Are there coaches and teachers who probably shouldn’t be coaching and teaching? Yeah. Perhaps. If you tally up all the years all five of my kids have been in sports and school it totals 71+ years. In all those 71 years, the number of “bad” coaches or teachers have been a small handful. And even then, we got to walk along beside our kids and teach them how to handle difficult situations.
What happens when we don’t teach our kids how to lose or how to work hard or that not everybody deserves to be #1 because not everybody’s a winner? What happens when we, as parents, always step in and defend our kids; never letting them fight their own battle or suffer the consequences of not following the rules? We raise a generation of entitled pansies who are unruly and disrespectful.
You see we think we are protecting our kids when really we’re hurting them in the long run. The school I referenced above with regard to turning in homework? They have a 90%+ graduation rate. Looks great on paper. Those graduates go on to college where the same percentage drops out after their freshman year. Marinate on that for a minute. College professors have no care to hear the whining’s of wimps and the emails of excuses.
When we fight every battle and make everyone a winner when our kids are little (or even a little bigger), they won’t know how to deal with that boss that’s bossy. Or professor that’s tough. They won’t know how to handle not getting that job or promotion.
In 1Samuel 22:1-2 we find David running from Saul. It says, “David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and his father’s household heard about it, they went down to him there. All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him and he became their leader. About four hundred men were with him.”
Here is David, hunkered down in a cave with a rag tag team of men. Men who are described as distressed (anxious), in debt (which translates having made a loan to others with high interest…people hated them) and discontented (bitter.) Quite a crew, eh? Poor pity us. Life is unfair. Why does everyone hate us? Blah, blah, blah.
Fast forward to 2Samuel 23 and 24 where we see David calling these same men mighty. How in the world? What happened in the time between these two passages? They learned to fight. They learned to defend. They learned to become mighty warrior men. How? By getting in there and fighting for themselves. Some they lost. Some they won. Some they walked away limping. Most left them bruised. But in every single battle, they learned something that would help them with the next one.
That’s what I want for my kids. I don’t want them hunkering in a cave whining about how hard something is or complaining about unfair life is. I want them fighting the good fight. Learning how to defend themselves when the battle is tough. Working hard to earn a spot on the team. I want them to appreciate tough teachers. I want them to know that at the end of their life they laid it all out there, gave everything they had and be known as mighty men and women. Don’t you want that for your kids too?
Bring on the red pen!
Love you something fierce my strong warrior friends!