Many schools and institutions have, over the past few decades, drifted toward an environment where children don’t ever feel the agony of defeat. They hold events where no one keeps score, where no one wins or loses. Little Leagues for baseball, softball, and football do this too early on. The idea is to spare children from feeling upset when they don’t win. Some see this as a benefit if everyone feels good and feels like they’ve won, even if they haven’t.
One public school has gone so far as to try to eliminate the urge to win. Why? Why participate in a decidedly competitive activity and not attempt to win?
Via ProgressivesToday —
The purpose of the day is for our school to get together for an enjoyable two hours of activities and provide an opportunity for students, teachers and parents to interact cooperatively. Since we believe that all of our children are winners, the need for athletic ability and the competitive “urge to win” will be kept to a minimum. The real reward will be the enjoyment and good feelings of participation.
My first take is one this isn’t too popular. Not all kids are winners. I don’t mean this the school bully way “you’re a loser”. Rather, not all kids possess the same athletic abilities. Some kids are winners, broadly speaking, because of their natural and developed physical abilities. The kids know this too. But we’ve trained them to complain and cry when they don’t get what they want. Instead of encouraging them to practice more and try harder next time, we console them and get them a prize too.
This doesn’t help them at all. In fact, it’s a terrible disservice to them. It doesn’t prepare them for life. Life is full of competition. University acceptance, employment, and promotion for example. Not everyone will succeed to the same degree as everyone else.
I think ‘no loser’ events can have a long term impact on many children. It teaches that no matter how hard or little you try, you’ll still benefit as though you performed the best. Kids eventually realize this. They keep score even if the adults don’t and it belittles the award the child gets who knows they lost. They know they didn’t win even if you told them they did. So why would you discourage the urge to win?
Why kill the motivation to try one’s best? Why encourage a child to try their best if when they do, it isn’t rewarded? If losing results in and feels the same as winning, who’ll give their best? If at work someone gets paid the same whether they do their best or half-ass everything, what does production look like? Here’s a hint: it looks like a public union employee (government) job.
Children are far too coddled these days. With some parents, if they could get away with bubble wrapping their child, they would. They don’t ever want them to feel any pain, any sadness, or any defeat. This is dangerous for them. They need to be prepared. They need to learn how to cope. Kids can’t cope these days. Everything that doesn’t go their way causes emotional distress. That’s sad.
Give kids something to earn, something to really try their best for. Motivate them to give their all. What we should do is what our grandparents did for our parents. Celebrate our achievements and victories, and support us when we suffer defeat, and never confuse the two.