Girl, it’s like you’ve been living in my head lately! This trend has been going on among the middle class at least, for longer than my kidlets have been around (the eldest turns 20 this week) and I hate it! Beyond the number of hours it has eaten up of my time, it is absolutely no good for the kids, the parents, or the greater good of our society.
Strangely enough, our schools here seem to have used this tactic primarily to award the kids who struggle — which is well meant, but a little confusing to kids like mine who have been mostly A’s and a few B’s but rarely rewarded in these ceremonies. In fact, they get the grades, they participate in activities, they do volunteer work, they never get in trouble, they have sat through dozens of these inflated awards shows and — they have virtually never gotten the awards. I do think some “most improved” awards are useful and deserved, if schools only knew where to draw the line.
The kiddie sports arena is even crazier. In gymnastics, where my kids have been competing since they were toddlers, the first several years / levels give medals to every single kid (some meets give them to all kids, all ages). My kids eventually referred to them as “the award for showing up.” When the girls were younger and a little sad to stop getting medals for everything, I simply told them “It just means you have to work harder and earn them like in the real world.” Sadly, that message doesn’t get to a lot of the kids. Some gyms and many parents don’t let their kids compete at any meet or any level they can’t win. “Regular” doesn’t exist in their worlds. I hear similar stories from parents of kids in other sports.
All of this translates into young adults who enter the work force thinking they will get raises and promotions annually, and a big ole’ pat on the back for every project they do! I don’t want to millennial bash because I’ve had many excellent millennial employees, but there’s definitely an unreasonable expectation among many. And when the kids who struggle get constant rewards but not the support they need to truly improve? Or when we throw all of these kids into a society that will no longer pay a decent minimum wage for a good day’s work? I think that’s part of why we’re seeing the rise of white supremacy, immigrant bashing, etc. — these kids have always been told that they’re better than someone, and now their leaders are saying that someone is oppressed groups. This is really the subject of entire books, but I’m sure you see the possible connection.
The only thing you said that I’d argue with? You are indeed exceptional. ❤