Everyone Gets a Trophy

By | February 11, 2021

[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.

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

15 thoughts on “Everyone Gets a Trophy

  1. José Luis Rodriguez

    I agree, this has gone too far. How do I know that? Simple, just look at how young folks are acting today! Many of them are out of control by rioting, looting, etc.

  2. Wendy Holmes

    Compromises are simply a backdoor pathway of least resistance that installs bad habits which become incredibly hard to unlearn.

    1. Mr. T.J. Asper

      Entitlement is a learned behavior. That is the core of this author’s argument. Everyone gets a trophy creates lazy, insubordinate, entitled little adult-children who think they deserve what they want, damn everyone else. I see it in the classroom every day.

    2. Rowen Tabernackle

      Everyone gets a trophy diminishes human worth. Participation trophy cultures are a false representation of how life works.

  3. Kenny Foster

    Thanks, Gen. Satterfield for placing this problem back upon us. Now that the presidential election did exactly what everyone predicted – created more violence because of the cheating – we can go forward to destroying socialism and its ideological foundations from Marxism. Too many are believing this drivel. We are responsible to meet their socialist ideas with common sense and logic and facts, not with emotion like that drives them.

  4. Colleen Ramirez

    Very good article. Correct, not a new idea but one that needs to be discussed more. 😊

  5. Eric Coda

    Marxists in our school systems are doing a great job of dumbing down academic standards. I say “marxists” but interestingly, most don’t even realize they are following communist principles while rejecting democratic values that have made the world so much better off. This is the abject ignorance of so many of our peoples that maybe we deserve to be destroyed.

    1. Otto Z. Zuckermann

      I agree with you Eric, except I don’t think the American people (or any peoples) deserve to be destroyed because so many accept an evil ideology that makes them believe they are god’s given people who are superior to us deplorables.

    2. Doug Smith

      Good comment but I also don’t think we deserve the effects of the ignorant. Let’s work to stop the stupidity. That means speaking up always and don’t let them get a chance to show their stupidity.

      1. Rev. Michael Cain

        Yes, but standing up to be heard requires courage and most Americans simply don’t have it.

      2. Audrey

        In the world of social media where our children are forever comparing their lives to the lives their friends portray on digital platforms, start bringing light to the dark world of comparison. Every time they talk about how they don’t measure up or how they cannot compete, be honest about it. Help them discover where they do thrive. Help them discover where they do stand out, and cultivate that. Focus on what they are built for instead of obsessing over what some other kids does better than they do.


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