You know, I usually am not one to get on a soapbox about this issue, but tonight I feel like I need to get this off my chest: SOMETIMES THERE WILL BE A CLEAR WINNER!!IT'S OKAY FOR PEOPLE TO BE RECOGNIZED FOR THEIR TALENTS!! IT'S OKAY FOR NOT EVERYONE TO GET A MEDAL!! AND SINCE THERE ARE WINNERS, IT GOES WITHOUT SAYING THAT THERE WILL BE MOMENTS OF DEFEAT!! IT'S LIFE, PEOPLE!! DEAL WITH IT!!
Whew! Okay, I'm better now. Sorry, it was a little overboard, but I had to do it. Now to explain my rant.
I went to dinner with my in-laws last night, and I agreed with what Pops had to say regarding this matter. We were talking about how so many kids in their 20's seem to have a sense of entitlement about them that is simply mind boggling. That they don't seem to want to strive for excellence, they just expect to be rewarded for mediocrity. I asked him why he thought that was, and he had many thoughts on the matter. :D
He and Nana both seemed to think a lot of it began when schools and sports started awarding participation trophies and completion certificates. As in, everyone who plays wins. Nobody keeps score. Everyone gets a ribbon for just being there. I was kind of unsure how I felt about it, thinking of my kids being so proud of their trophies/medals from soccer. But then I thought of how hard they worked in the game, and of the kids on their team who didn't put their best foot forward. Who didn't even want to play, but were probably made to. They got the same recognition my kids got. Is that completely fair?
There's a moment in the movie, "The Incredibles" when Helen tells Dash that everyone is special. His response: "That's just another way of saying that no one is." Something to ponder.
I really didn't get deep in the conversation, just dinner talk, nothing big. In fact, I didn't even think about it again until tonight at church. I'm in charge of putting together the kid's Christmas program this year. It was kind of a spur of the moment idea, which is pretty much how our children's pastor operates, Lord love him! :D He asked me if I'd take it on, and of course, I said sure. (Kelly hates this about me, and sometimes, I hate it, too!) Then I looked at a calendar and realized I had 5 weeks to find a program I liked, get it approved and teach it to the kids!! AAAAHHH!!!
Due to the time crunch, I assigned the speaking parts myself without holding auditions. Rian and I prayed about it and came up with some criteria on how I'd choose the kids. They had to be 8 years old; they had to be kids who are there on a consistent basis (meaning practically every Wednesday and Sunday); they had to have a good reputation with all of us who work with the children; and they had to be kids that I knew would be willing to put in the work and have their parents be willing to have them at all the practices. Not really hard criteria, but it did narrow the playing field significantly.
There were 4 parts in the book, but I revamped things to make 6. I wanted to use as many kids as I could. I also decided to make one song a girls ensemble (which I have decided to hold auditions for) to give a few more kids parts. I thought I was doing pretty good - till tonight.
Two of my girlfriends and I were talking about how the practice went tonight, and how cute the speaking parts were. One said I had casted the parts really well. I told her it was funny that when I was listening, I could actually see a couple of the kids being that character. We were laughing about it, and the other friend just kind of looked at me and said, "It sounds like you hand picked the speaking parts. That's not very nice." :( She then went on to say that there was going to be a real problem if her son didn't have SOMETHING to do in the program, that he would just be so upset.
I was pretty preturbed, but tried to handle it in a lighthearted manner. I told her, "Well, I know I'm going to have somebody mad at me before it's all over. It always ends up that way. But I have 5 weeks to get it together, and I did what I had to do to make it work. Besides, they all do have SOMETHING to do in the program - they are in the choir, and that's the most important thing in my opinion!"
She didn't seem to agree, so I just excused myself so I didn't have to discuss it any further. But the conversation I had with Pops and Nana came back to me in a rush. How many of us are setting our kids up for disappointment by making sure everything is always equal? Why should I have to bend over backwards to make sure everyone has a SPECIAL part? Isn't being part of the group, a part of the BODY, the important thing? We all have to work together for Christ, and I'm not always going to get the glory for the things I do. In fact, I SHOULDN'T get ANY of the glory - my Father should.
Why are we telling our kids they should have the best or most important things when we know that life will not always respond in kind? Sometimes there is a clear winner, so you know what that means - there will also be a clear loser. It's not fun, but it's true. It's how we handle the loss that proves our character. Being a team player and learning to share the spotlight are very important qualities that Christians should be striving for. It's fun to be the leader, to be the star sometimes. But it's not the ultimate reward. Christ tells us the first shall be last, and the last shall be first. Shouldn't we be using these moments in our children's lives to point them to the cross?
I don't even know if this makes complete sense. All I know is that my kids will not always be the best at everything they try to do. Goodness knows I wasn't. But I don't want them to quit when they don't get what they want. I don't want them to expect to have everything handed to them just because they showed up. Hard work and a good reputation is something worth striving for in this world, and I have no problem rewarding those things.And I thoroughly believe in celebrating one's accomplishments and awarding excellence. So if it upsets some people, so be it. I think Jesus himself had people upset with him a few times, too...