James Harrison is right about kids’ participation trophies

SHARE James Harrison is right about kids’ participation trophies
SHARE James Harrison is right about kids’ participation trophies

James Harrison has opened a national conversation by being a meanie. Although I don’t agree with his methods, I’d like to thank him for pointing out how far overboard we’ve gone in trying to make our kids feel good about themselves.

The Steelers linebacker took away his 8- and 6-year-old sons’ sports participation trophies because they rewarded involvement, not accomplishment.

Here’s what he wrote on Instagram:

“I came home to find out that my boys received two trophies for nothing, participation trophies! While I am very proud of my boys for everything they do and will encourage them till the day I die, these trophies will be given back until they EARN a real trophy. I’m sorry I’m not sorry for believing that everything in life should be earned and I’m not about to raise two boys to be men by making them believe that they are entitled to something just because they tried their best…cause sometimes your best is not enough, and that should drive you to want to do better…not cry and whine until somebody gives you something to shut u up and keep you happy.’’

I don’t think children need to learn that particular lesson so soon and so harshly, but I understand the sentiment. Being on a team is reward enough for participating. If your team stinks, there are lessons to be learned in perseverance and giving it your all no matter what. Winning a tournament or a title is worth something more, and deep down, most kids understand that.

These participation trophies remind me of a despair.com poster: “Individuality: Always remember that you are unique. Just like everybody else.’’


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