@evalague: My hubby & I agree…”everybody wins” trophy sports are NOT where our future kids will play. If, by some twist of fate (we’re both rather athletic), our children are not good at sports, they will be taught how to improve if they wish to continue in said sport. If they wish to stop participating, they’ll be allowed to do so after the current season is over (we don’t like “quitting” either). If, by some twist of fate (we’re both rather academic as well), our kids don’t do well in school, they will be taught how to improve there, too (damn well better be taught, since I’m a teacher!). All along the way, they’ll be encouraged to try harder, taught how to try harder (just “trying” isn’t a guarantee for improvement – parents, teachers, & coaches are responsible to guiding improvement to get the desired results – coaching a kid to run faster isn’t going to necessarily improve his/her batting average – teaching a kid to do their homework longer isn’t necessarily going to improve his/her math grades), & praised for working hard as well as doing well.
@windmills: Absolutely agree with you…it’s how kids are taught to handle the outcome. Role models (like parents, teachers, & coaches) should teach kids how to lose with dignity, how to work towards improvement, & how to win gracefully.
@bryce234: As a high school teacher, I agree…I hate the fact that some teachers dumb down the curriculum so that everyone gets it or give any kind of homework result an “A”. Personally, I find that No Child Left Behind is partly to blame…when the law forces you to teach to the least capable student, other kids in the class check out & grades become a joke. It’s up to the teacher to create challenging lessons that can involve the least capable & the most capable, & help both improve to the utmost of their ability…and that takes dedication & talent that most people think is not well compensated by a teacher’s salary. *steps off soapbox*
@bkchi: completely agree with everything you said & just wanted to add one more kind of parent: the kind of parents that take any criticism of their child (whether it’s a bad grade, a parent teacher conference, a “bad” call at a game, etc.) as a personal affront, refuse to correct the behavior that caused the criticism, & instead, teach their kids that complaining loudly enough, frequently enough, or threateningly enough (whether physically or litigiously) will change the outcome.
On the flip side…kids need to be taught that winning & being the smartest isn’t “everything”. Just as competition isn’t required to teach a kid that life isn’t fair, “everyone wins” isn’t necessary to build self-esteem either. Like most things, there needs to be a balance. I think it’s great that some schools & teams give trophies for the kid who is “Most Improved” & has “Perfect Attendance” – tenacity for improving & consistency in following through by showing up are both qualities that colleges & employers look for. Getting a trophy for talents that are needed to make a team better or a student stronger (not just the most valuable or the smartest) SHOULD be rewarded…however, giving EVERYONE a trophy just for being alive that season or year is not necessary.