I grew up playing sports at the tail end of an era when one only received awards for being the best or close to. Quite frankly, that’s how it should be… that’s how the real world works. Rewards in the business world, for example, come from strong performances and dedication, not just for showing up.
Handing out awards or rewards to kids in sports for just being there — also known as ‘participation awards’ — contributes to the entitlement epidemic we now see in society among many young adults…
The entitlement epidemic is also a contributor to household debt levels shooting through the roof across the Western world… many young adults think they should have the same expensive toys and houses their baby boomer parents have… except they want it all in their late twenties, without working their ass off for 25 years. It’s a joke. And the culture we’ve created of giving kids ‘participation awards’ is, at least in part, to blame.
An Entitled Teen Became a Thief as an Adult
I played basketball with a kid growing up who was good, but not great. He was big and tall, but not near the best player on the team, not even close. Yet he was arrogant. A ball hog who would sulk when he didn’t get a shot for a few consecutive possessions, he was the type of teammate who would turn the ball over on offense and jog back on defense. He was extremely entitled. The reason: he was mollycoddled by his parents and led to believe he was the best. His mom babied him well into his teens. She would yell from the stands for teammates of ours to pass him the ball. She brought him a special snack and drink to every game. He wouldn’t share team water bottles because he had his own sports drink. It was never his fault when things went wrong on the court either. He always played the victim.
The kid constantly thought he had something wrong with him too. He was a hypochondriac. An ankle sprain would be the end of the world for him. When he drove to the hoop and didn’t finish the play, it was because someone had fouled him – which he always let the ref know. Plain and simple, he was an entitled chump.
Years later, in his twenties, he apparently started a business with a partner. Through the grapevine, I learned that he had stolen significant amounts of money from his partner… wish I could say that it surprised me to learn of this news. But this is the outcome of raising an entitled punk. He probably thought he was entitled to that stolen money, the hell with the impact on others.
We need to toughen our kids up. It is our parental duty to let them fall, and fail and not reward them just for showing up to a game. If they didn’t do anything special in the game, don’t bullshit them and tell them they did. Encourage, but don’t embellish. All that’s doing is lowering the bar and giving them a delusionary sense of reality and themselves.
I get it, we all think our kids are special, and they are – to us. But if you want them to be special and successful in the world, instill work ethic, discipline and determination. The rest will take care of itself.
James Harrison Returns His Kids’ Participation Awards
Wrapping up, I want to turn your attention to Pittsburgh Steelers star DE James Harrison. I’m a new fan after his latest tweet which landed him in hot water with the PC police (aka the mainstream media)… this guy gets it.
I came home to find out that my boys received two trophies for nothing, participation trophies! While… https://t.co/rO6r9cZ1v8
— James Harrison (@jharrison9292) August 15, 2015