In Defense of Participation Trophies
About a month ago I got mad about participation trophies and how people criticize them, and I tweeted about it. I'm not done talking about it, so here are more thoughts. Please feel free to chime in or disagree with me if you want to. I'm happy to continue talking about it in the comments.
- •So a lot of people have some problem with Participation Trophies.They think that they make kids "weak" or that your kid won't grow up to be a fighter or something.
- •And that makes me mad. For a lot of reasons.
- •First off, I went to my cousin's high school awards ceremony in May.All of the awards were given to kids who were described as "energetic, outgoing, talkative, a leader, etc."
- •And that's great. But do you know what all those traits have in common?
- •They're all extroverted traits.Awards ceremonies are just yet another way that society favors extroverts and tells introverts to "stop being so shy." For introverts, participation trophies are probably all they have, because the awards were always given to the louder kids who always had the attention focused on them.
- •Also, people say that participation trophies are bad because they create unrealistic expectations for kids."All you have to do is show up and you get a trophy."
- •And that's great. But it's also true that there are plenty of times in life when you are going to work your hardest, be the "best," or really be outstanding, and no one is going to be standing there with a trophy, certificate, pay raise, or even a thank you.So don't kid yourself into thinking that kids who only get awards for being "the best" are getting a true taste of the real world. They're living in a fantasy land too.
- •Plus, awards just encourage us to compare ourselves to each other."I thought I was smart, but it turns out Johnny is smarter, so I guess not." NO! It doesn't have to be this way. We are ALL awesome, and comparing ourselves to others does literally nothing.
- •It's true that hard work counts. But showing up is also important.
- •It's important to show up for a job, to show up for school, for your friends and family.Showing up counts. Showing up matters.
- •When I was in elementary school, my sister and I were in a talent show with some friends.We performed a scene from The Wizard of Oz. Every kid who performed in the talent show got a trophy.
- •I still have my trophy.It's in a bin in my room with a bunch of other weird stuff from my childhood.
- •Every so often, I see it and it reminds me of that talent show.It's like a photo or a souvenir.
- •It makes me think about that talent show, and how I wish I could go back in time and tell Young Lexie that I'm so proud of her for doing the thing, because I know she was scared.This participation trophy represents an event in my life. It represents a time when I was brave and I did something even though it scared me. And it's just a nice little reminder of that.
- •I THOUGHT OF A NEW POINTThank you new update! 🙌🏻
- •People claim that participation trophies create entitlement and kids end up expecting that things should just be handed to them.And let's take a look at how we treat people who are talented in their fields, people who have shown true talent and have won awards and everything. They are SO entitled. Everyone has just decided that they don't have to play by the same rules as the rest of us because they're so "talented." The list of people who have been excused from breaking the law because they're so famous and such a special snowflake is huge. So don't you dare tell me that participation trophies are creating entitlement.
- •It's by deciding "winners" that we are ruining kids and teaching them that the rules don't apply to them.It's these young winners who grow up to be Brock Turner, the rapist whose swimming reputation saved him from serving actual time in jail.