By now, most basketball fans, and even the general viewing public have heard, or seen the video of the “good job, good effort” kid. In it, a little boy is congratulating the Miami Heat for playing hard in a playoff game last season.
It’s really a travesty to see. The reason I say travesty is because its a minute example of the way society is nowadays. I can’t speak for other countries, but America has gotten soft. Anybody who attempts to do something grande, yet doesn’t succeed is patted on the back and told good job, good effort. Their effort may be good, but they don’t deserve a trophy for basically failing. I don’t know exactly when this ideology became part of society’s consciousness. But, it has done a disservice to adults and children alike.
Thinking like this has produced a generation that feels entitled to things it truly didn’t earn. It’s fueled by individualism and a need to be coddled. Adults are handicapping the children coming up now. When I was growing up, my mother told me one piece of advice that has always stayed with me. She said, “you’re a special person, to me and the rest of your family. Outside this house thou, nobody cares.” It sounded harsh then, but I understand now.
People who feel like they should receive just because they are who they are, are not ready for the world, period. Acting as if they’re entitled to anything will cause the world to “eat ’em up and spit ’em out”. It’s both mothers and fathers doing it. It’s like the parents who go overboard in doting on their daughter, and as she gets older, she’s not ready for working or relationships. Same thing with sons who turn into super mama’s boys because they weren’t prepared to deal with disappointments and rejection in life.
A parent’s natural inclination is to protect and dote. Nobody is saying to stop, but we have to be realistic in raising kids. They’re going to be things we can’t protect them from. Rejection at a job interview, their first heartbreak, even being turned down by the college of their choice come to mind. What we can do, and have to do is prepare them for the inevitable setbacks and disappointments that life will assuredly bring their way.
Then, the good job and good effort they receive won’t ring hollow. Then, we’ll have people who are ready to be proactive and not reactive. Then, the expectation of getting anything just because, will be replaced by the expectation of receiving because of effort. Nothing is going to change unless we adults are leading the charge to make it happen.
The point of all of this is to say, lets stop setting our kids up to not be prepared for this world. And, let’s readjust our way of thinking to the reality of life as it is. When we have accomplished this, then we’ll see the shift that is so desperately needed.
So, do you feel like kids today are too soft? What ways can be used to toughen them up?