To Be Competitive

Monday, October 21, 2013
posted by elizabeth @ 7:54 PM

Losing is a gift for a child.  I am at that point in life where my children play organized sports.  Organized sports means competitive play.  It’s an opportunity to teach kids how to work as a team and how to win and lose.  Unfortunately there is some naive, populist thinking amongst the coddling crowd that keeping score, having winners and losers isn’t fair.  Everyone is a winner.  We need to protect self-esteem.  It might hurt their darling child’s feelings.   They don’t keep score, or they limit points and everyone gets a trophy for showing up.  This is a joke.   It’s narcissism.  It’s creating children who have no sense of reality.  They live in, as Adam Carolla aptly says, a “snow globe world” where it’s always beautiful and snowing.  Life is pretty.  Nothing is bad.  The coddling crowd is creating children who are narcissistic and unprepared for the real world.  They’re fostering a world where accolades are more important than achievement, and mediocrity is praised. 

Many of the coddling crowd who want fairness are the same parents who want to know the details of the classes their child is taking in college.  They get the syllabus for each class and call their child and/or the professors to be sure the kid is doing homework and studying for tests.  I have news for the coddling crowd.  Life is not fair.  Life is not going to be nice to your child when they leave the nest.  The real world does not care about self-esteem.   It’s built on competition.  There are winners and losers.

Don’t get me wrong.  We must teach sportsmanship.  As my friend Mano DeAyala, who is in the leadership of the Spring Branch Memorial Sports Associations says, you teach kids not to kick opponents in the stomach once you have your cleat on his neck.  I agree.  Eventually you rotate players and take out your best talent.

Competition and keeping score is important because it teaches good values.  Kids must learn to be good losers and winners.  Losing builds character.  I hear my kids say, “daddy that’s not fair.”  My response, “life isn’t fair, get used to it.”  The concept of fairness is nonsense.  When we try to create a world that is so-called fair, we create mediocrity, laziness and worst of all, envy.  Envy is one of the worst evils.  I don’t allow the word fair in my house or my business.   What I support and strive to create is fairness of opportunity. Envy leads to failure and bitterness.

Another news flash for the coddling crowd, when your child gets in the real world their peers are going to compete hard to get that job your kid wants.   Not everyone is a winner.  You don’t get a participation trophy.  You don’t get the job because you applied for it.  The coddling crowd is creating kids who aren’t mentally prepared to enter the workforce and work within the Big Team Little Me approach.  They are fostering an entitlement mentality.  Boston University professor and director of sports and exercise Leonard Zaichkowsky said it best.  “We also have to teach kids to be mentally tough, to take criticism, to experience failure, to learn somebody wins and somebody loses.” 

The coddling crowd’s kids are often referred to as the millennials. They are lazy and have an unhealthy sense of entitlement.   The Wall Street Journal did an article on these children.   Some of what I read was appalling, unrealistic and arrogant.   One of the kids claimed that if their bosses don’t cater to them they will leave and become entrepreneurs.   I want to see that fool a couple of years from now when their business is shuttered because they couldn’t compete.  Growing a business and winning clients is hard work.  It isn’t fair.  Wait, mommy and daddy will bail them out, call their competition, explain they are wounding their baby’s self-esteem and being unfair.  The reality is that there are winners and losers.  You better prepare your kid or they will end up on the dung heap of history or back home mooching off of you and the hard working American tax payer.  To quote Congressman Ted Poe, “that’s just the way it is!” 

-Andrew Biar

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