All I Had To Do Was Show Up?
Today, all across the United States, many people believe they are entitled to receiving rewards and recognition for doing the simplest of tasks such as showing up to work on time and doing the homework that is assigned, and people think that if they merely put some effort into whatever the task is, then they will be rewarded by doing the bare minimum. One of the causes for this destructive mentality is the self-esteem movement, which started with the distribution ofparticipation trophies. At the end of the season, every team member on the roster receives a trophy, every science fair participant receives a ribbon, and every registered runner receives a medal at the end of the race; but what people do not know is that giving children a reward takes away a child’s motivation and ambition to improve and strive to do his or her best. If a child knows he or she will get a trophy regardless of his or her competitive placement, then he or she does not feel the need to push himself or herself harder to win the game. In addition to the lack of ambition, children that receive participation trophies tend to acquire narcissistic traits as they grow up with feelings such as supremacy toward others and entitlement to higher rewards later on in life even after no effort is applied. Scientific studies show that if a child gets used to being rewarded, then he or she will have a tendency to be less resilient to frustration and strife.
To put it simply, handing out trophies to undeserving teams signifies no real accomplishments or anything significant enough to receive an award, but instead, it only reminds him or her of the experiences of being a player on a team that did not have enough ambition and determination to actually do his or her best. Giving participation trophies sends society a dangerous message; everyone is a winner, which is far from the truth. To reiterate, doing one’s best and showing up to participate is not worthy of an award, but should be expected. The simple solution to this universal problem is to teach children the importance of actually earning awards instead of just having them at their fingertips. Instead of teaching children to just expect recognition, schools and parents should teach the world’s youth that the only way one can truly deserve a reward and recognition is if he or she pushes to be the best to win the game, become employee of the month, or get into that really competitive, prestigious school. This will prepare future adults to understand the reality that success is not guaranteed, and is only administered to those with superior skills and the highest achievements.
For example, the student that has the highest grade point average is awarded the valedictorian title. Another way to make today’s youth strive to actually be the best is to throw a party for their efforts at the end of the season to treasure the experiences for those who did not win, and give the trophies to the first, second, and third places instead of giving trophies to everyone on the rosters. Recreation departments, city governments, and schools sponsor these award celebrations, which teach people at a young age to show respect to winners by congratulating them, and it also teaches them that not everyone can be a winner. Young people of the world today need to learn the importance of being competitive and hardworking in order to be recognized for their talents, but in order to do this, the distribution of participation trophies needs to stop. In the real world, finishing last is never good enough and lowers standards and competitiveness. This gives a sense of false achievement, which causes people to become unmotivated and irresponsible.
For the team members that did not place high enough to receive an award, throwing the party is a better way to allow children to celebrate the experiences shared in the team without rewarding them for not winning. Also, if the trophies are only given to the teams that placed the best, then it will motivate other teams and team members to work even harder to win the trophy, and when a person is motivated enough to work hard at a young age, then there will be a tendency to continue to work hard as the child gets older, rewarding him or her with something much greater than a shiny metal figurine. In addition, narcissism in children could reduce dramatically if participation awards were not distributed because the youth would not feel entitled or superior for doing the simple tasks, while expecting an award. If children were taught to handle frustration, then they would be able to deal with difficulties. Protecting them from defeat does not do justice. Destructive behaviors of supremacy and entitlement and the lack of ambition and motivation to be the best can all be stopped by terminating the distribution of participation awards.