I saw an article this morning about a school that is trying to teach young children about empathy and compassion. That sounded great, it was just the one statement that I had a problem with. In order to teach about empathy and compassion they will not be giving out any type of awards or trophies for achievements or sports events anymore.
I know decisions like this have been made for awhile now by different schools, and even though it is nothing new, it still bothers me. What are we really teaching our children by this? Is this really the way to help them be more compassionate and empathetic? It doesn’t make sense to me, but perhaps I am missing something.
The argument I have always heard is that they don’t want to make the other children feel bad, the ones who can’t do well in sports or don’t excel in school work. I understand that, but I still don’t know if what schools are doing now is the best solution.
Every child is different, there will be ones who excel in sports, and ones like me who strike out, more than I hit! Ones who excel in music, and some in art, or something else totally different. Its OK to not be good at something, and I am not sure if that message is getting across when we decide to totally eliminate acknowledgement of winning at a sport or another accomplishment.
I think of my sisters who are very talented in art and singing. I did not get those genes, but I never felt bad because of it. My sister got straight A’s. I preferred using more letters of the alphabet. My parents were proud of my sisters, they hung their artwork on the wall and told them how much they loved their singing. I didn’t feel less valued because of them applauding my sisters. I enjoyed listening to my sisters sing as well.
Here is the key, my confidence in myself didn’t come from things I could do, it came from just plain liking who I was.
I didn’t care about others getting awards in school or winning trophies for sports. I am not saying that I never wished that I was good at sports or could make the honor roll, but I learned to just accept that I was not cut out to be an athlete. That certain school subjects didn’t come as easily for me, and that I much preferred reading actual words with letters in them, not trying to find out what X and y were supposed to = and what Y to the power of 10 was!
I realize that sadly not every child comes from a loving home. Not every child has caring parents to instill self confidence in them. So what is the solution when it comes to sporting events and other things at school? How do we boost self confidence and not hurt it? Yet at the same time preparing them for the real world, where there will be things that they are going to lose at, and people that will be smarter, etc.
You heard my thoughts, now I would love to hear yours!