I had this conversation yesterday and it made me want to write my thoughts.
Everyone wants to praise their kids for a job well done. Me too! But everything they do should not be rewarded with trophies and medals and over the top celebrations. Kids participate in sports to have FUN and sometime to WIN! As long as they give their best its great to win and ok to lose too. They learn from their mistakes and hopefully it will make them better. In fact I think they learn more from being a gracious looser than a winner. Logan played on a team this winter that lost big time almost every game. There was some bad sportsmanship on that team. Kids making comments on the field out of frustration and refusing to even shake hands at the end of the game. This was a great learning experience. If he ever acts like that he will be benched, at my doing, and I made sure he knew that. Yes, it can be frustrating, but taking it out on the other team, your own team or the refs is not the way to deal with that frustration. Its OK to loose. It makes winning even better!
That point right there is why I don't get my kids participation trophies. When they do a good job and win and get rewarded for it, that is praise well deserved for a job well done! Logan lost badly in his first two pinewood derby races. He didn't get a trophy. Each year he researched car shapes and designs for it to go faster. Last year he won. He got a trophy. It was well deserved and it made him feel like he earned it for hard work- and he did! For soccer this year they ask each parent for $10 to buy a trophy. We told him we would not do that and explained why. He gets it. He agrees with it. And when every kid on the team lined up to get a trophy and he was the only one without one, he was fine with that. That makes me proud!
Melina loves to dance and sing. She had a tough year not making the dance team here. Did we have tears...yep. But did she get angry and loose her passion? NOPE. She worked even harder this year. I told her if she showed me this is what she wanted and she was willing to put in the work that I would do what it took to help her. She has certainly showed me, and her teachers, she wants this. So I have kept up my end of the bargain for her.
She auditioned for a solo in the school show this week. When I told her she didn't get the solo, her response was, "Well, can I look and see who did?" Was she sad...yep. She welled up, but was happy for her classmates that did get a solo. She didn't feel entitled or angry. Thats shows such maturity.
My kids have worked hard and have earned awards and praise for many things they have accomplished. I support them in all they do and they know that. And thats what matters. Not a trophy to show they showed up.
If a child is only a winner how will they learn to handle disappointment? How will they fair later in life when things don't go their way? If they get everything they want, what will happen when they have to be fiscally responsible? They need to learn to work hard, be part of a team, have a good attitude and sportsmanship.
I really think my kids "get it" even now, but I wanted to write this for them, for later. As a reminder why they didn't get a trophy or medal or ribbon for participating in things that they signed up for to HAVE FUN!!