I wrote this little rant on Facebook recently in response to our local high school’s interest in “reducing competitive culture”, and figured I’d share it on my blog for, if anything, documentation of my distaste for the entitlement generation.
Here you go.
“Parents need to understand how counterproductive this is for their children. Sheltering them from competition and potential loss – two things they’ll experience constantly in the real world – only serves to make them dependent and weak. Punishing the ambitious is a surefire way to curtail excellence.
Come on people, teach your kids that they get rewarded for going the extra mile. Teach your kids how to graciously accept defeat, and the resilience to come back stronger. Teach your kids they’re not unique snowflakes just because they exist. They have to earn it in this world, just like everyone else.
You can love your kid and simultaneously prepare them for the real world, which includes disappointment, heartbreak, and struggle. Insulating them will only make their eventual discovery of the truth that much more challenging.
They’ll think the world is being unfair when they get beaten out for a job, or when a significant other chooses someone else. They’ll blame their genetics when it’s hard to lose weight, or claim their opponents are cheating when they lose a game. The idea of building a business or investing will be foreign to them because they will be so used to instant gratification, and so conditioned to avoid failure or loss.
Your job as a parent is to prepare your child for the real world, not to buffer or isolate them from it. Your job is to help them understand the rules of the game, and the adversity they will face. They’ll learn it from you, or they’ll learn it from the real world.
Of course no parent purposely or knowingly sets their kids up to be weak, but I’m telling you this: If you coddle your kid like this they will get crushed by the kids whose parents taught them the value of hard work, how to fend for themselves, the importance of “growing pains”, and the power of learning that results from getting your ass kicked.”