Should Kids Be Allowed to Lose?

awards          Recently it has been proposed here in Canada that a certain University remove the Dean’s List since the students who do not make it on the Dean’s List may suffer psychological repercussions.  Naturally, this is the next step after handing out trophies for just attending a sports programme and the fact that there are reported incidents of grade inflation going on in the schools. This leaves us with a coddled generation who feels entitled to the best life has to offer without putting in the necessary effort.

            Just showing up for a sports programme does not deserve a reward.  Being part of a team could earn a commemorative ribbon or pin, but each person has not earned the right to a trophy.  When little Johnny comes home and says that he didn’t get anything out of his sports programme because he didn’t get a trophy, the parent can reassure Johnny that he did indeed get something.  Johnny learned a new skill and he most likely improved in that skill.  My dear Johnny, you don’t always need to win, but learning something new and improving is very important.  You have also learned that you will not always be the best in life.  But, that’s O.K.  As long as you did YOUR best.

              Teachers have confessed to grade inflation in schools.  A certain grade point average has to be met in order to receive sufficient funding.  This results in college/university students who feel entitled to a “B” just for attending class.  If they don’t get the mark they expect on a test they argue with their teacher, “But I studied for that!”  They fully expect their teacher to up their grade on the basis that they studied.

            This makes Sally feel that she is entitled to that job she applied for.  “Have you not seen my resume?  It’s outstanding!  I am known for regular attendance and doing background work (even if it’s not always right, at least I do it!).”

            Making mistakes is a part of learning.  When we make a mistake, hopefully we will remember what the correct solution was and in this way we have progressed in our learning.  But, if we don’t teach our children that mistakes are ok, how are they going to progress in life?  They will fall apart the first time they are told that they did something wrong.

            Now they want to remove the Dean’s List so that some students won’t suffer self-esteem issues because they don’t make the list?  Shouldn’t they already know that they are not always going to be on the top?  Have they not learned that we will lose more than we win in life?  Of course not because they have always had that trophy handed to them, or the grade bumped up for them.  Now we must take away the next obstacle for their narcissistic personality to continue blooming.

We are living in a society where everything is too easy.  We can access anything at the tips of our fingers via the Internet and cell phones.  Credit cards make it easy to purchase things we cannot really afford.  This creates the need for more.  Happiness becomes elusive, as it is always just 10% more than we have.  We look for quick fixes in all areas of life.

How about teaching the younger generation the three “P’s”—Patience, persistence and perseverance?  Life is a journey, not a race.  We will not always win, but we must keep going, learning from our mistakes and moving on with our head held high knowing that we have done the best we could with the talents we have received.

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One thought on “Should Kids Be Allowed to Lose?

  1. Excellent post. I totally agree. You learn the most from the things that are hardest. I believe the reason we’re here on this earth, is learn and grow from the things life throws at us. If you deprive a child of every adversity he never becomes the strong person he needs to be to survive in this world.

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