I’m going to try to write this post without ruffling any feathers but I am apologizing in advanced, just in case. This is a parenting issue that has evolved from something harmless and beneficial to a deterioration of the ambition of our children.
I have noticed my kid’s laid back attitude towards many of their everyday tasks. Cleaning their room, chores, playing, learning, and sports all have been at times done at a passive “la-de-da” pace and quality. This seems harmless and as if it’s just their personality. But I beg to differ, that is not their “best”.
And this is my fault.
At little league games, I have noticed everyone’s reasoning behind how the team plays is not to “win”. They just simply follow steps they have been taught in the order they were taught. There is no impulse decision making. There is no passion or drive to win. There is no fun in being caught up in adrenaline and competing for something you want. It is stop the ball, throw it to first base. It is hit the ball, run to first base. They don’t look at the bigger picture which is getting home to score. Without touching home plate your efforts are being wasted. Or preventing the other team from scoring. The score isn’t even acknowledged for the most part. We as parents, coaches, etc. are not teaching them that they have to do these things but they must be better than their competitor for them to win.
We offer second chances on bases after being called out. We take one base at a time so the other team has a chance with defense. Every player on every team is awarded no matter how they participated. Trophies are guaranteed with just signing up. The goal is achieved before getting on the field.
This is our fault.
We have brainwashed them with “give your best” and “just have fun” so much that it has lowered their personal standards they set for themselves. They no longer push themselves to their full potential because what’s the point if they are getting praises for using only half of their ability or none at all.
Being too competitive is not good for our children either. But a healthy dose of competition is still what pushes people to make great achievements in life. Life will always have a winner and a loser. Yes, as a mother, it breaks my heart to see my children fail and I often want to offer an excuse for them. That’s not what they need though. They need comfort, encouragement, and motivation to try again and tools to do it better.
The standards of “giving our best” have been lowered by its overuse. Our children need to experience loss and failure so they can grasp the meaning of winning and what doing your best actually is equivalent to. We want to shelter our children from having to experience these difficult feelings but we are actually setting them up to accept failure instead of working past it.
When they enter the working world they are going to be shocked to find out not every employee is paid the same. Or when they don’t receive a raise for just participating. Many can reach the same accomplishments but there are benefits to reaching an accomplishment better than others. Ambition, perseverance, drive, and being a winner are character traits being omited from our future generations and we are the cause.