I will always remember a line from the movie THE INCREDIBLES. “They keep creating new ways to celebrate mediocrity!” My husband and I always laughed at this, because as the parents of three grade-school boys, we knew this to be very true.
I’m not only talking about all those graduation ceremonies for moving from the three-year-old room to the four-year-old room in daycare. I’m talking about things like getting a trophy just for participating in sports, even if you come in last place. I’m talking about that school somewhere (I can’t remember where) who decided to stop naming someone valedictorian because it makes the other kids feel bad they didn’t “win”.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but many kids these days grow up believing they are “entitled” to what they want. I think this is the result of all the coddling they get in the early years of their lives.
Seriously… Why work your butt off, sweating in your sports game if at the end the winner is going to get exactly the same trophy as the team that ends up in last place?
This reared its ugly head for me personally this morning. My husband called me to let me know that the middle school had called. Middle Dude had to be taken out of homeroom because he did not make the soccer team. He was devastated.
My heart broke.
The more I thought about it, the more angry I became— not at the school or the coaches, but at all the previous schools and coaches Middle Dude has encountered.
They dropped the ball in preparing my kid for the real world.
The truth is, the real world is not all rosy. When he graduates college, chances are he will not get the “dream job” he’s been fantasizing about. If he does get a job, he will be expected to over-preform, not under preform… and if he doesn’t do his job, no one is going to pat him on the back and say: “that’s okay, we’re going to give you a raise anyway. Don’t feel bad.”
This was a big wake-up call to me. Middle Dude had no conception of the possibility of not making the team. Up until now, everything had been handed him on a silver platter. Probably the only people who have said “no” to him were his parents, and no matter how many times we tell our kids what “the real world” is like, they always just grin and shake their heads at us…
Because the real world gives them everything they want, and celebrates their achievement of nothing.
In their minds, we, as parents, know nothing.
It makes me sad. Really sad. It is fine for Middle Dude to be upset about not making the team. I remember in high school how I felt when I didn’t get the part in the play that I wanted. BUT I ALWAYS UNDERSTOOD THERE WAS A POSSIBILITY OF THE PART GOING TO SOMEONE ELSE.
It is a different day. I applaud many of the things that government and schools have come up with to protect our kids physically and emotionally. But there is such thing as over-protecting them.
The world has not changed. In fact, it is probably a much worse place than it was when I grew up. But my kids don’t believe that.
They are the generation of entitlement. And I am so afraid for them.
The real world entitles no one.