Participation Awards: Confidence or Communism? | Teen Ink

Participation Awards: Confidence or Communism?

August 26, 2016
By anonymous06 PLATINUM, Northbridge, Massachusetts
anonymous06 PLATINUM, Northbridge, Massachusetts
35 articles 5 photos 31 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." -Thomas Edison

“How’d you do? Did you place?” Grandpappy Bob turned to face his granddaughter, Sally, who had just finished up presenting a science fair project to the group of judges. In fact, the entire class had finished presenting and had just been given their awards. Sally, being only in fifth grade and never really competing in anything, was confused and stared up at the old man. Bob, understanding the confusion, looked down at Sally, “Well, did you get first place?”

Sally shook her head.


She shook her head again.


Once more, she shook her head.

“Well how can you be so happy if you didn’t place?!”

Sally held up the plastic golden trophy and smiled. “I got participation!”

Of course, Bob, being the old school man he was, was appalled that his granddaughter was only given a participation trophy for all the hard work that she had put into her science project. But, before he said anything, he looked around the room only to see that each student was holding a trophy identical to that of Sally’s.

And that is the sad society we have come to live in. In this day and age, competition is friendly, equal, and, in some cases, nonexistent. We have started in grade schools teaching children that everyone is the same, equal, common. They don’t truly understand what it means to win or what it means to lose because we fear of killing their confidence and self-esteem. We don’t allow them to feel the satisfaction of being in first place or the determination that comes from being at the very bottom. And most importantly, we don’t allow them to grow from their errors or mistakes.

Growing up, I knew what it felt like to be up there in front of a clapping crowd. I knew the praise for doing good work. Great work. Hard work. And I also knew that feeling deep inside my stomach when I was placed fourth. Envy? Maybe. But more so perseverance. I hated being at the bottom and I’d work double to get myself back up on the top again. Today’s children only know one thing: if they do it, they get an award.

You washed your hands? Here’s a sticker. You worked three minutes on a project that took someone else three weeks? Here’s a blue ribbon. You wrote an essay for a contest? Well, of course you’re getting the prizes for it.

That’s not how life works. That’s how communism works. In grade school, everyone is treated with equality in terms of judgement. Susie spent her entire vacation pouring her heart and soul out over a beautiful painting. Lizzy did hers on a bumpy bus ride. They both get the same place in the art show. Lizzy learns that the easy road will get her an award. Susie realizes that she doesn’t need to work as hard to get a reward. Everyone’s equal. Everyone’s common.

We start with those children because they’ll spread those ideas as they grow up and create a whole new generation of participation-award-giving, confident Communists. Do we really want a society like that?

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MeRip said...
on Dec. 27 2017 at 2:55 am
It’s 1:45 a.m., and I just thought of this concept while lying in bed. So, I googled it and here I am now. Rip.

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