A firestorm controversy was created this weekend when long time Pittsburgh Steeler linebacker James Harrison took to Instagram to voice his displeasure over his two young sons being awarded participation trophies for playing sports.
Harrison wrote, ” I came home to find out that my boys received two trophies for nothing, participation trophies! While I am very proud of my boys for everything they do and will encourage them till the day I die, these trophies will be given back until they EARN a real trophy.”
In society, we are being conditioned on political correctness and we avoid discomforting situations at all cost to spare someones feelings, especially our children. Are we helping our children by sparing their feelings? Or are we crippling them?
Harrison continued, “I’m sorry I’m not sorry for believing that everything in life should be earned and I’m not about to raise two boys to be men by making them believe that they are entitled to something just because they tried their best cause sometimes your best is not enough, and that should drive you to want to do better — not cry and whine until somebody gives you something to shut (you) up and keep you happy.”
When I was younger, I participated in karate tournaments. I lost more than I won. Was I disappointed? Absolutely. I enjoy winning, I hated losing — who doesn’t? I also played football. We didn’t always win. Did any of these experiences leave everlasting scars? Of course not.
The point is, we live in a world today where everyone gets a trophy for just walking through the door. As a society, we try to avoid those conversations with our kids when they don’t win, so we just hand them a participation trophy so everyone walks away a “winner” and no one is “bummed out.” Winning is the greatest feeling in the world but losing builds character. Let’s not take the character building lessons away from our children. I agree 100 percent with Harrison.
Reach Chris Slone at 740-353-3101, ext 1930, or on Twitter @crslone.