It's time for my annual ‘every child's a winner' rant. It's not that I don't believe that every child is a winner. It's more that I don't believe every child wins every time. I can almost feel the daggers right now. Yet, seriously, are we helping or hurting our kids when we dole out a trophy just because they show up for practice? Or, what about the student who models "good behavior" and receives a certificate? Isn't the reward that he didn't get sent to the principal's office or lose his recess? Perhaps it's the kind gesture she receives in turn for the kind gesture she gave? Geez, people; I'm just saying. There has to be a compromise on all this entitlement swirling around. And to be fair, it's not the kids' fault. Somehow, we adults and parents have gone awry. This reminds me of one of my 6-year-old son's basketball games from earlier this year. As for my son, he played the entire first half of the game in his sleep. One little girl, bless her heart, cried the whole time. And others, well, let's just say their skills lacked execution. Halftime finally came and the miniature players, along with their parents, headed for a dimly-lit ‘locker room' where the coach spoke glowingly about how well the boys and girls were playing. What!? Were we witnessing the same game? I stood to the side, quiet but shaking my head and thinking...we adults are the problem. Crucify me or not. I'm not saying we should demean our children or squash their enthusiasm. But I do think we owe them an honest, yet compassionate, assessment of how they're tracking in sports, in the classroom, in life. If they think everything they do is fantastic and done exceedingly well - even when it's not; don't be surprised when they show up the first day on a job demanding the corner office, a company car and an expense account.
Kysa Daniels is a journalist, non-profit professional and mother of three boys. For more Adventures in Parenting and parenting tips, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.