It is a cold hard fact: Not everyone is equal.
When I say that I don’t mean that everyone shouldn’t have the same opportunities or same rights. What I mean is that not everyone can be the fastest, strongest, prettiest, or smartest. Everyone can’t be the best at everything. There is always going to be someone better than you. There are going to be things that you are not able to do and the sooner that we accept this the better.
Yes, a child should feel good about themselves and they should be confident in who they are. However, they should also know their limitations so as to prevent heartbreak further down the road when they realize that they are in fact not superman.
Today everyone is so concerned about building up a child’s self-esteem, afraid to tell them that they have done something wrong because it may hurt their feelings. Why is it wrong to tell a child that they are not good at something and that they should move on to try and find something they are better at? Why shouldn’t a child be aware of their weaknesses so that they can build up their strengths?
When I grew up you didn’t get trophies for being in last place. Or a ribbon simply for participating. Today it seems like you get a prize for everything. What happened to healthy competition and acknowledging the accomplishment of a job well done? You have to push children so they excel, not reward them when they have completely failed at something. How is that going to make them try harder? What do they have to work toward if they are already getting such praise for basically standing on the field breathing?
Your child’s precious self-esteem isn’t going to be ruined if they don’t get a blue ribbon or a “you’re awesome” sticker. It will actually help to prepare them for the real world, which sucks….
Let’s face it sometimes the world is a down right shitty place and this is something that children should be aware of. If you shelter and baby your child when they are hit with a large dose of reality they aren’t going to know what to do. (Cue emotional break down.) Their rose colored view of the world is going to shatter and then they are going to have to run back to mommy and daddy to fix everything.
2 thoughts on “A Generation of Wussies”
It’s a fine line and can be hard to know where to draw that line.
Children should be made aware that they won’t be good at everything (and that dreams actually aren’t enough – not everyone’s going to be a sports star/pop star/president…although maybe that’s a slightly different topic).
HOWEVER, there are a lot of children who will be held back from trying by the fear of failure. Children who won’t step onto the stage, even though to do so will give them a boost, children who won’t tackle maths because it doesn’t come naturally to them, children who won’t pick up an instrument because they don’t automatically understand it and they don’t want to look stupid (just some specific examples I can think of off the top of my head). So sometimes children DO need to be told that just trying is good enough, that having a bit of persistence may not take them to the top of the pile but that’s ok as they’ve achieved themselves.
And I also think that children grow up to have a better body image when they’ve been told that they are beautiful even if they’re not the MOST beautiful of all.
That said, it does need to be tempered. Rewards come from EFFORT, not just for breathing. And, yes, losing – and being pleased for those who win – is just as important a skill as always winning.
I agree it is a fine line, I am just referring to the children that are so sheltered that they do not experience life for themselves. Yes, children should be told that just trying something is enough, but not that they are superman because the reality is that they are going to come across things in life that they are unable to do.