I want to take my readers back today. Who remembers Field Day? The shuttle run, tug-o-war, sack races, egg races, and many more. I remember being a buck-toothed, lanky kid in elementary school and couldn’t wait to get out on the field to showcase my skills. My friends and I would make side bets with our lunch money on certain events to raise the stakes a bit.
When the dust settled after each event, the top 3 winners would get ribbons and the rest of the kids had to accept that L. When someone lost, they got pissed. That even includes me. When someone won, they basked in the glory and let folks know they’re the best. But at the end of the day, we all remained friends and it pushed us to do better. It was all in the spirit of competition.
Last year, I attended my daughter’s Field Day events. I was excited to see my Princess compete against her friends and have a good time. Well, honestly, I wanted to see my Princess DUST all the other little snot-nosed kids on the field because I want her to have that killer instinct when it comes to competing! So I walk up to the first event she’s in and get my camera ready to snap some photos. It’s the sack race. The teacher yells out to begin the race. My daughter jumps out to an early lead with one of the other kids close behind. The other kid passes my daughter, but she speeds up and beats him by a nose. I was so proud! My daughter tasted victory! I couldn’t wait for her to get her first winning ribbon (which I knew would be the first of many) but the teacher passed out a ribbon to everybody… Huh? Wait…what? I couldn’t help but have one of these faces:
I approach the teacher and ask, “Will there be an additional ribbon for the winners?” She says, “Oh no, everyone is a winner here!” Again…I couldn’t help but hit her with this face:
After my first experience of the “everyone’s-a-winner-field-day” I couldn’t help but notice a correlation between the behavior of our young adults today and school’s instilling the idea that everyone’s a winner. Kids (and by kids I mean high school to young college kids) are always looking for immediate gratification for ANY and ALL things they’ve accomplished.
“Look at me, I took notes in class!”
– But you’ve been taking notes in class since middle school…
“Look at me, I wrote a two-page essay!”
– But you’ve been writing essays since high school…
“Look at me, I color coordinated my clothes!!”
– But you’ve been dressing yourself since you were a child…
The above examples are that of a 22 year-old College senior. Thirsty for compliments and acknowledgement. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s great to hear a “Great job!” or the occasional, “Ata Boy/Girl!” but if a person consistently hears that for EVERYTHING they do, it sort of loses it’s luster. Why would receiving an award for achieving a 4.0 GPA be any better than receiving a participation award in a table tennis class? SMH.
In my opinion, we’re failing our children if we keep telling them everyone is a winner. We’re lying dead to their little faces. In life, there are winners and losers. I’m not just talking in sports, I’m talking in life period. Want that job? Guess what, only one person is going to get it and that person will be the winner. Want that woman? Guess what, only one guy (typically) is going to marry that woman and that guy is the winner. When we coddle our kids and protect them from losing, they’re going to grow up and wonder why everything isn’t handed to them. When they don’t get that first job out of the school, they cry about it in hopes someone will GIVE them a job because they gave it the ol’ college try. I’m sorry but if you weren’t qualified for the role, then you won’t get the role. If your interviewing skills suck, then you’re not going to get that job.
So what do you guys think? Is it just me? Or are we living in a generation of young cry babies? Let me know the comments below.
As always folks, stay classy.