[February 11, 2021] Yeah, I’m an old guy (oh, should I just say age-challenged?), so I remember when no one got a trophy for winning a school baseball game. We competed for bragging rights. Not today. What’s more, some schools won’t give out grades below “C,” so no student will “feel bad.” This means that those in leadership positions have to pick up the pieces when these young people fail.
I remember my Basic Combat Training Drill Sergeant saying to us recruits, “Ladies [a slur upon our manhood], start doing pushups until I get tired.” It seems like he never got tired of watching us collapse from exhaustion knocking out pushups. The training was hard. The training was realistic, just like in the movies when they fire real ammunition above our heads as we crawl under barbed wire on the cold, wet ground. It was an introduction to reality that I will never forgot.
Reading yesterday, I came across an article I thought was a parody on modern child-raising:
“I think everybody should get a trophy. There, I said it. I totally support the ethos that rewards growth and effort over success, as both a teacher and a parent.” – Captain Awesome, posted March 8, 2016, at We Are Teachers
I’m not the first to say it, but the ‘everyone gets a trophy’ mentality is entirely out of control, especially in our education system. As an Army officer, I saw many young people coming into the military as self-absorbed and lacking any realistic view of life; hard work, responsibility, and honesty were not part of their upbringing. I blame this squarely on school systems and on parents who put up with it.
Knowing there is this problem and blaming schools and parents for ‘everyone gets a trophy’ philosophy is, well, frankly, not good enough. It will take everyone standing up to reject this insidious and harmful idea. It is unacceptable to believe that our feelings are more important than moral or academic standards.
What the ‘everyone gets a trophy’ does is produce young people who think they are the center of the universe and what they think (and feel) is godly, and anyone who disagrees with them is evil and should be punished. Too many are divorced from reality, and it makes for a terrible consequence as they enter adulthood. These young folks make terrible leaders.
If we, as Americans, want our nation to succeed economically, academically, and morally, then action is required. The first step is to recognize that our ‘everyone gets a trophy’ mindset must change. Yes, this outlook is pervasive, and it is intrinsically tied to the view that outcomes in life should be the same for all. That is, of course, Marxism.