I was listening to your prologue on awarding children trophies for everything whether they’ve accomplished anything or not – when a personal experience came to mind:

My wife is a piano teacher and tries to instill in her students the importance of self-discipline. She does a few things to acknowledge them when they meet the goals she’s laid out. One of those goals is to practice 30 minutes every day for the month as confirmed by the parents. At the end of the year during the annual recital, she gives a certificate of participation to each student who performs and a small trophy to those students who have practiced 30 minutes a day every month for the entire year. Of course, not all students meet the “30 minutes a day” goal, but some do.

A few years back, after the conclusion of the students’ recital, one of the parents came up to my wife, visibly upset and agitated. She was angry that her daughter did not receive the trophy. My wife reminded her the trophy was for those students who met the practice goal for the year and her daughter did not. The mother acknowledged her daughter hadn’t met the goal, but started shouting at my wife saying, “That trophy only costs about $5.  I’d pay the money to get her one.” My wife told the woman that the purpose of the practice goal was to help the children learn self-discipline and good study habits. The woman grabbed her daughter’s hand and hurried out the door. Naturally, she did not bring her daughter back for more lessons – which was not a problem for my wife.

My wife and I talked about the incident later and felt sorry for that girl who would grow up without the opportunity to learn self-regulation or how to create structure in her own life. Sadly, I see more and more children who are subject to such upbringing. Hearing your comments provided a glimmer of hope there is at least one voice of reason on the air, somewhere. Keep it up!

Eric


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