Trophies for Participation: Awesome or Awful?

Officers carry a body bag at one of the sites of an attack in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia, on May 13, 2018. (AP Photo)

When I was a kid, I won a few trophies. Key word is won. I sometimes got first, second or third place in karate tournaments. And when I didn’t place? I went home empty-handed. Sure, it was never fun driving an hour to a tournament, only to spend three minutes in the ring, and then go home with nothing to show for it. But c’est la vie. Or at least it was.

Today more and more kids are getting trophies or being otherwise rewarded for doing nothing more than participating. Recently  the Today show’s Rossen Reports on NBC did a segment on this trend. Using actors in a restaurant, the show explored people’s feelings about kids getting trophies without having earned them.

Some people agreed that it’s a bad idea. If kids go through life getting rewarded for doing nothing, what will they be like as adults? Dare I say that one of the big issues some millennials are facing now stems from this problem? When you expect something for nothing, it leaves you feeling entitled and without a work ethic.

Some people in the “social experiment” on NBC felt that a child’s self-esteem is paramount. One woman remarked: “There’s nothing more important than a child’s self-esteem, and if you start destroying it now, what kind of adult will he be?”

Check out the clip and let us know in the comments on what side of the debate you fall.