By Adam Jusko, ProudMoney.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
I just heard another person give the tired rant about how kids are soft from getting participation trophies, how these trophies make them think they’re great when they’re not, how the kids who excelled got shortchanged by getting the same trophies as the kids who were terrible, blah, blah, blah.
I get it.
But I disagree with it. I think participation trophies are good, and I’ll tell you why:
Participation trophies encourage you to try things.
Kids know the best players on their teams. They know who runs the fastest, who scores the most goals. No participation trophy is going to fool them into believing everyone is the same. Kids start measuring themselves against others before they are out of diapers. Any parent could tell you that, assuming they are paying any attention.
The participation trophy isn’t telling kids, “You’re the best.” It’s telling them, “It’s awesome you tried! Keep trying things!” (Even if you didn’t finish first.)
I don’t know the statistics, but I’m sure less than 1/10 of one percent of us will ever be a professional athlete. The other 99.9%+ will compete in the work world, on playing fields where the rules are ever-changing and the “goal” is more than a little fuzzy. (Other than to make money, of course.) For those of us not literally throwing touchdowns, we could use a few more symbolic participation trophies in our lives.