This post was written and saved several years ago. I feel that it’s time to share it as nothing seems to have changed, with even adults now talking about this mindset.
*Please check out Deidre’s short teacher encouragement video at the end of this post.*
The “Voices” are out there – taking our message to those who will listen. It is a message about returning to doing things God’s way so He will bless our nation again and we can leave a decent legacy for our children. Whether I am attending festivals, vendor shows, church-sponsored events, or Deidre is traveling to visit relatives, friends, and former colleagues, our book is moving into the hands of many and we are thankful.
Our title sums up what seems to be a growing trend – whether you win, lose, or just participate – everyone gets a trophy. There seems to no longer be an incentive to strive for more, work harder, or “keep your eyes on the prize.” As one six-year-old recently told me, It doesn’t matter if we win, I’ll still get a trophy.” That’s just SAD! At the ripe old age of six, she already knows that it doesn’t matter how much effort she puts into the game, the cheer, or the race, because everyone is rewarded for just showing up!
Contrast that with what Steelers linebacker, James Harrison, said about a similar situation: “I came home to find out that my sons got two trophies for nothing, participation trophies! While I am very proud of my boys for everything they do, and will encourage them until the day I die, these trophies will be given back until they EARN a real trophy. I’m not sorry for believing that everything in life should be earned and I’m not about to raise two boys to be men by making them believe they are entitled to something just because they tried their best . . . cause sometimes your best is not enough … and that should drive you to want to do better . . . not cry and whine until somebody gives you something to shut you up and keep you happy.”
Let me take that participation mindset further. If you have grown up receiving government assistance, as did your mother and her mother before her, don’t you accommodate to that lifestyle? Why work when any effort to do so might jeopardize that income? As a result, we now have several generations of citizens in our country who expect their lifestyle to be supported by others while all they have to do is “show up.” This situation is just as puzzling to me as the trophy one. How do we change this mindset and teach our young people that it takes work, sometimes hard work, to succeed in life?
I fought a difficult battle in the middle school classroom at times trying to convince sixth and eighth graders that hard work will pay off in the end. Instant gratification was so much more rewarding, but that is not reality. Sometimes in life, it takes effort, learning from mistakes, and time to accomplish what we want. As I mentioned in one of the chapters of our book:
“Nothing pleases me more as a teacher than seeing a student slowly but surely improve in my class. Moving from a “D” the first nine weeks to a “B” by the end of the year is a dramatic change and a true lesson in life. Hard work does pay off regardless of the area of involvement.” (Ch. X, pg.146)
How is that lesson learned if everyone gets a trophy? Participation is just a step in that direction – let’s get back to teaching our children that not winning is OK if they have tried their best. However, the trophies belong to those who accomplished the most. Maybe next year . . .
Sue – Voice II
Everyone gets a trophy, in my opinion, can easily be paired with everyone will get a trial. Even if children are rewarded with a trophy for just being on a team, and people receive government assistance when they can possibly work for it, they still must face the reality that everything in life does change. The government now requires individuals who receive help for food, housing and utilities to go out and volunteer at select companies or go back to school for on-job training, and those of us who are still employed or retired from long years of hard work can rejoice as we shout, “AMEN!” Likewise all those Pop Warner and little leaguers who were rewarded the same-regardless, will eventually grow up and obtain jobs or go on to schools of higher learning and education. In the “real” world, they will find out how you only get a paycheck when you work for it, or you will only receive the grade which you have earned. Unfortunately, it will be a hard truth that many will have to face a little too late.
The Bible says in this life we will have trials and tribulations. Contradictory situations in life occur as we experience happy and sad, the good and the bad, sunshine and rain, life and death all interacting and all being intertwined into our daily lives. We definitely don’t always get to choose how or when these things will occur, but we do get to choose the attitude with which we handle them. Yet, we all will experience the highs and lows of life whether we think we deserve to or not.
Everyone getting a trophy is certainly not the best lesson life has to offer anyone, and everyone going through a trial may not be the worst of it. However, the greatest trophy to seize is not a tangible one; it can be found in the message that the Apostle Paul taught when he declared, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Jesus Christ.” (Phil 3:14) To lose out on obtaining the most undeserved and unmerited rewarded crown of all time known as Salvation, would indeed be the greatest travesty one could ever endure or witness.
Deidre – Voice I
Check out our latest youtube video “Why Teach…?” below.