Tuesday, May 12, 2009

What Happened to the Ribbons?

Today was field day for Rebecca. Even though I have a terrible cold, I dragged myself out with Ryan to watch. Thankfully it was a nice day and I was glad I went. It's amazing what a few crocodile tears will make a person do! As I was watching this field day and all the little "sporting events" the kids do, I remembered my own field days. In my day, LOL, we used to have races and all kinds of events. We competed and got ribbons. There was a first place through sixth place and then if you didn't get any of those you got an honorable mention. In fact I remember in one race I was about to beat a girl named Rachel and she pushed me out of the way to win. I was angry at her, but I lived. Clearly I am not bitter!! I remember being so proud of my ribbons even if most of them were honorable mention! Today as I watched the kids, it all seemed pointless. It was like having gym class outside. At what point do our kids learn about the challenge of competition, the "ok-ness" of not coming in first?? It seems everyone is so worried about little Zach or precious Victoria having hurt feelings that we've forgotten failure is what makes us great. I think this idea of protecting their little feelings actually breeds complacency instead of self esteem. There is zero reason to do your best. Zero reason to try harder next time and zero reason to be apart of a team. There is no goal if you just play until the whistle blows. Unfortunately for most of them they will never learn these lessons until they are much older and it is much harder to adapt to the fact that in the real world no one really cares about your feelings, just their own. Thankfully as a family we play games where there is a winner and a loser. Games where if you don't come in first you can try for second. Games that if someone else wins you get the chance to be happy for them and plan a rematch where you can try to conquer the game. It's not easy learning to be a good sport, but it is necessary. We do our children a disservice if we don't teach them that failure, and effort and trying again and again are the very building blocks that will lead them all to a successful, fulfilled life! I guess for my Kindergartner who will never know different at school, all that running around was for the double Popsicle at the end!! A great prize in her book. As for me, I will leave wishing I could have shared the excitement of hearing her relive her ribbons and wondering why on earth that man gave me a dirty look when I cheered for my daughter. Oh well, I am too hopped up on Cold medicine to care. Great job Rebecca...you get a ribbon of every color in my book!!