Everyone’s a Winner???….Oh Really??

I want to take my readers back today.  Who remembers Field Day?  The shuttle run, tug-o-war, sack races, egg races, and many more.  I remember being a buck-toothed, lanky kid in elementary school and couldn’t wait to get out on the field to showcase my skills.  My friends and I would make side bets with our lunch money on certain events to raise the stakes a bit.

ribbonsWhen the dust settled after each event, the top 3 winners would get ribbons and the rest of the kids had to accept that L.  When someone lost, they got pissed.  That even includes me.  When someone won, they basked in the glory and let folks know they’re the best.  But at the end of the day, we all remained friends and it pushed us to do better.  It was all in the spirit of competition.

Last year, I attended my daughter’s Field Day events.  I was excited to see my Princess compete against her friends and have a good time.  Well, honestly, I wanted to see my Princess DUST all the other little snot-nosed kids on the field because I want her to have that killer instinct when it comes to competing!  So I walk up to the first event she’s in and get my camera ready to snap some photos.  It’s the sack race.  The teacher yells out to begin the race.  My daughter jumps out to an early lead with one of the other kids close behind.  The other kid passes my daughter, but she speeds up and beats him by a nose.  I was so proud! My daughter tasted victory!  I couldn’t wait for her to get her first winning ribbon (which I knew would be the first of many) but the teacher passed out a ribbon to everybody…  Huh?  Wait…what?  I couldn’t help but have one of these faces:


I approach the teacher and ask, “Will there be an additional ribbon for the winners?”  She says, “Oh no, everyone is a winner here!”  Again…I couldn’t help but hit her with this face:


After my first experience of the “everyone’s-a-winner-field-day” I couldn’t help but notice a correlation between the behavior of our young adults today and school’s instilling the idea that everyone’s a winner.  Kids (and by kids I mean high school to young college kids) are always looking for immediate gratification for ANY and ALL things they’ve accomplished.

“Look at me, I took notes in class!”

- But you’ve been taking notes in class since middle school…

“Look at me, I wrote a two-page essay!”

– But you’ve been writing essays since high school…

“Look at me, I color coordinated my clothes!!”

– But you’ve been dressing yourself since you were a child…

The above examples are that of a 22 year-old College senior.  Thirsty for compliments and acknowledgement.  Now don’t get me wrong, it’s great to hear a “Great job!” or the occasional, “Ata Boy/Girl!” but if a person consistently hears that for EVERYTHING they do, it sort of loses it’s luster.  Why would receiving an award for achieving a 4.0 GPA be any better than receiving a participation award in a table tennis class?  SMH.

In my opinion, we’re failing our children if we keep telling them everyone is a winner.  We’re lying dead to their little faces.  In life, there are winners and losers.  I’m not just talking in sports, I’m talking in life period.  Want that job? Guess what, only one person is going to get it and that person will be the winner.  Want that woman? Guess what, only one guy (typically) is going to marry that woman and that guy is the winner.  When we coddle our kids and protect them from losing, they’re going to grow up and wonder why everything isn’t handed to them.  When they don’t get that first job out of the school, they cry about it in hopes someone will GIVE them a job because they gave it the ol’ college try.  I’m sorry but if you weren’t qualified for the role, then you won’t get the role.  If your interviewing skills suck, then you’re not going to get that job.

So what do you guys think? Is it just me? Or are we living in a generation of young cry babies?  Let me know the comments below.

This post was brought to you by Ant who is a contributor to the Group blog The Writerz Block. Make sure you check out the great writers over there. Also follow them on twitter @Block_Blog.

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11 responses to “Everyone’s a Winner???….Oh Really??

  1. I think we should have something for the babies to give them confidence and think this is extrapolating both things too far too entitlement

  2. By the way, you are awesome and i have you in my blog list on my blog. I never thought about it that way. Is there a problem with teachers celebrating mediocrity, instead of the real winners. And what kind of adults will those kids be. You have to ask because kids turn into grown ups. With that being said, in certain aspects of society mediocrity is unacceptable. What will that child who has never really won anything fair when he/she is in the real world and is told that mediocrity or losing is not good enough?

    • Thanks for coming through and sharing my stuff!! I thinks a very thein between giving a child confidence and over compensating them. On one hand you need to build them but making them think that everyone wins is a bad perspective to give them about life

  3. Very good article! We are certainly living in a time when many are attempting to push an agenda that “everyone’s a winner,” but this does not reflect our social reality. We should embrace competition and not run from it. Our children should be educated to understand that society will rank them and choose winners and losers. They are not better served by schools by hiding the truth from them. What schools need to do is give them the necessary preparation to empower them to be able to be winners.

  4. I have been saying this since I went to my little sister’s sports day and saw that there was no distinction between winners and losers. Your blog is so on point.

    I don’t know who started this way of “protecting’ their children but I think in the long run it is far more damaging and will only create a generation of children unable to cope with the realities you mentioned of adult life where there can only be one winner.

  5. Everyone is a winner is one of the reasons we stay losing as people. There is no since of reward for a job well done, especially if it was against all odds. I would like to see a study of kids that grew up in the everyone is a winner culture vs kids who grew up in the winner takes all culture. I believe the everyone is a winner mentality stemmed from the “honorable mention” ribbon that everyone used to get if they participated but didn’t place in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd.

  6. I’m late as usual. This concept of everyone is a winner is some BS. I don’t have children but I have little nephews and a god child. I attend some of their sporting events and I’m like ‘WTF” Everyone is NOT a winner. You must learn to take the L. Hell I had to learn it. I started running competitive track at age 6. In track usually the top 6(maybe 8) get a ribbon etc. If you finished beyond that you got NOTHING! That simple! You lost. Losing builds chararacter. When I was a kid playing games with my parents, checkers,golf etc. If I didn’t win on my own I didn’t win. You don’t win everything in life we go after/I think our generation turned out decent with having winners and losers.

  7. Word press sucks. This thing ate my comment! Uhhh!
    Anyway. I don’t have children but I have nephews and a god daughter. I go to there competitions and I’m like who gets a trophy for 10th place? WTF. If you don’t place in the top 3 you lost that simple. Hell even 2nd place is just that 2nd place. I started running competitive track at 6. Usually in track you get a ribbon for the top 6(maybe 8). But we all knew if you didn’t get 1st place you lost. Losing builds charater. It makes you think I’m going to ry harder next time. When I was a kid playing checketer,Uno and min golf with my parents. If I didn’t win on my own. I LOST! They didn’t let me win. I earned my W! Thes kids nees to know. You don’t win everything in life.

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