Should Children Get Rewards for Competition Essay Example

Participation awards have long been a debate in our society. Competition a major part of today’s world. Humans compete in everything from athletics and politics to baking, music, and art. Heck, people even put their pets in competitions. Why is winning so important to our world? Some say that no matter what happens, everyone is a winner in the end. However, giving kids a trophy, win or lose, implies that competition is not okay, and that one does not need to work for what they earn, nor is realistic to this thing called life. The idea of giving participation trophies conflicts with what many parents want their children to learn about life.

For one thing, participation trophies contend with the idea of a competition. They defeat the purpose of ever even competing. Jesse Sanborn explains “no one is going to want to work hard if they are being rewarded for something below their best” (1). If there is already a prize guaranteed, why compete to be number one. Twentieth place would be just as good as first. Next, healthy competition allows kids to reach their full potential. Ashley Merryman told USA Today that “The benefit is improving. When you’re constantly giving a kid a trophy for everything they’re doing, you’re saying, ‘I don’t care about improvement. I don’t care that you’re learning from your mistakes’” (Ross 1). Competing for something gives kids the motivation to become the best they can be. Equally important, it is unrealistic and vain to allow kids to think that competition is not in the real world. “In the real world, competition lies at every doorstep, and in many cases, there is only one winner, one person eligible for that dream job position” (Sanborn 1). Kids must learn and understand how competition works. Unfortunately, there are winners and losers.

Furthermore, if everyone gets some sort of trophy intro end, who is going to work for it? These trophies are basically giving kids a free pass to success. Carol Dweck, a psychology professor at Stanford University, explained that “those who receive an award should have to work for it” (Iasevoli 1). Giving a child a reward for something they did not work for, teaches them false truths and really hurts them in the long run. Similarly, when just given things, no one would have the motivation to win or try. When kids lose, they become motivated to do better. “They have taken those losses and turned them into motivation in order to work harder and do what it takes to win” (Sanborn 1). Sometimes it takes a loss before one can win. Moreover, when everyone gets a prize, it demotes the value of that prize. When there is no winning value, “the children see them more as symbols and remembrance of an experience” ( 1). They do not see the prize as an achievement on their part. It does not represent all the work they put into it.

As a final point, it does not help kids or prepare them for life by giving them an award for just showing up. It is important for kids to know that when they grow up, life will not be fair. Jesse Sanborn wisely stated “Sometimes, even when you try your hardest, even when you take all the right steps, things just don’t go your way. Sometimes, you really do deserve that winner’s trophy and you just don’t get it” (1). Even when people work their butts off, life is not always kind. Indeed, kids need to know that losing is okay and losing gracefully is an actual life skill that needs to be learned. These trophies contend with this. Sanborn also wisely stated “Losing is inevitable. Everyone loses at some point in their lives. What separates people is how they take those losses. We need to teach people how to take losses with honor and with humility” (1). When all kids do is win, how can they be expected to know how/the right way to lose? The answer is simple. They cannot. So, when kids are babied all the time, life really smacks them in the face when they grow up. “Those who have received participation trophies believe that they are entitled to that position and that is just simply not the case” (Sanborn 1). No one is entitled to anything. Life does not work that way. As much as they might hope, it is unrealistic for teenagers to think that they can get a good night’s rest of sleep instead of writing that English paper they procrastinated and still receive an A on the assignment. Unfortunately, life does not seem to always work out as wanted.

All in all, participation awards harm more than they help. Everyone who just participates should not be given a trophy. Trophies need to mean something. They ought to be a sign of achievement and pride. Some claim they promote self-esteem, and although given with good intent, participation trophies suggest competition is a negative thing, success is free, and life is just a bunch of rewards. Kids need to learn the value of hard work and dedication. They must be prepared carefully for the rest of their lives. Life is hard and it sucks sometimes. If someone loses, let them lose with grace. If they fail, they fail. It is not the end of the world if they just keep working at it.


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