Karmyn had a post this week about field day for her kid and how everyone gets a participation ribbon. It made me ponder and instead of leaving written projectile v0mit all over her comments, I decided to make my own post about it.
I can’t decide if a ribbon for just effort is a good thing or not. I guess for something like that, if you participate, yes, because it’s the whole school and you’re forced into it. It’s not like you have a big choice in the matter. But I hate it that every kid, whether they sat the bench or not in whatever sport when they’re young, ends up with an 8 inch tall trophy just because they showed up. Soccer, dance, t-ball, not to mention contests of various flavors. To me, it’s enough to know that I tried my best and have good memories and learned something. I don’t need a trophy for that.
I remember I got a trophy for sportsmanship the first year I was in 4-H with the horses. I don’t know why I got it, as that was about 20 ish years ago, but I found out what sportsmanship was after that, and began cheering on the other members with their participation, and although I never won again, I was glad to cheer them on, and whether they knew it or not, someone out there was rooting for them. However, I participated in a beauty pageant (shut up, I KNEW I wasn’t beautiful, but my point of doing it was forcing myself to get over my shyness of speaking in public, yes I tortured myself like that several times). One year there were only like 4 girls participating and there was the winner and first and second runners up and then of course the last girl didn’t get anything (well everyone got some prize packages like dollars off of tanning certificates and lotions and stuff), but she didn’t ‘win’ anything. So the next year, when I did it, they gave away a trophy to everyone who entered. I have it, boxed up somewhere, it doesn’t mean anything to me. What means something to me is the fact that I got up, knowing I could never win, I did a little dance thing, I modeled a gown, and I answered my question like everyone else. I was nervous, but I beat down the nerves and did it. I was proud of myself for it and didn’t need a trophy for that. Any suggestions on how to recycle it?
What exactly ARE we teaching kids when they get a trophy for everything? That even if you sat the bench and were sullen the whole time because you didn’t get to play, you get the same shiny reward to keep forever and ever as everyone else? Wouldn’t something like a free ice cream cone from a local store be better? Everyone gets together after the game to rehash the season and everyone has a feel good ending, whether it was a losing season or not? Occasionally the ball club leader we had would buy all of us a soda after t-ball at the concession stand. That would have been impossible for my family, but for them it wasn’t a big deal, so it was a nice treat for me. I always appreciated it and said thank you. The fact that we tried hard and hit the ball and ran and basically didn’t pick dandelions out in the field was good enough for them, and I liked that. We didn’t need a trophy to remember the fun.
There’s my 2 cents. Now leave yours in the comments.