True success should be celebrated

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Stop giving praise when it's not deserved

By Moreland Jeff

The way I see it, in many ways this country is headed down hill fast; it's in high gear and nobody's touching the brakes.

Somewhere in the past 15 years or so, at least that's when I noticed the change, society started wanting to make everybody happy by thinking they're a winner. Youth sports leagues, at least for some younger kids, stopped keeping score, and kids were taught that everybody's a winner. No matter how much talent you have, or don't have, for a sport or any activity, it seems somebody's still standing there waiting to give you a trophy and tell you everything's going to be OK.

To me, that's ridiculous, however, part of it is a good idea. If you didn't win the trophy, you shouldn't get one; but, everything will be OK. Eventually.

It doesn't feel good to lose, and I guess some folks just can't handle the idea that their kids won't feel good about themselves if they don't think they're the best at something, whether that's true or not.

Not at my house. I grew up playing sports from the age of 4, and I loved it. I played everything when I was younger, and focused more on football and baseball as I got older. I had a lot of fun playing some of those games; other times, it was not so much fun, but I learned to work hard to win. I've always heard it said that it doesn't matter if you win or lose, as long as you have fun. Again, I disagree. I wasn't a bad sport, but playing and loving the games made me see things differently. When I lost, I never had a minute of fun. I learned lessons from those losses, but mostly, I learned that I didn't like losing, and like my dad always told me, if you wanted something in life, you better go out and earn it, because nobody's going to just hand it to you. Boy, has that attitude ever changed?

Years later, the pure hatred of losing at anything has helped me in my life today. It's the desire to achieve something special, something with meaning in our lives, that lights a fire under us, that makes us decide we're going to achieve a goal or else. More kids today need that, but unfortunately, too many adults want to hand "success" to their kids. Not me, make 'em work for it.

The latest example of this insanity can be found in Rhode Island, where leaders at Archie R. Cole Junior High School in East Greenwich decided that having an awards night for students who excelled in school would be too much to handle for those who didn't.

According to the story I read in The Washington Times, the decision came because school officials felt the event was of an "exclusive nature." After the change, students would be celebrated as a group instead of singling them out for their work as part of "team-based recognition ceremonies and graduation."

The story also said the school's sports programs would be the next to see changes.

Either way, nobody should be honored for something that's not really an accomplishment at all, and those who do excel shouldn't be held back and hidden, as if they should be ashamed of their success just because somebody else didn't do as well as they did.

Being successful is not all about being recognized for it, but at the same time, there's nothing wrong with acknowledging that someone has done well. Maybe the lack of recognition for those who didn't do so well would light a fire under them to get that recognition next time, by working hard to earn it.