And we’re ALL Winners!!!!

I am pretty sure I offended some people on Facebook the other day… not that there is anything unusual about that.

Friend posts: “So what are some good alternatives to participation trophies for little league basketball?”

I poured over the many comments that said things like, “Gift certificates, t-shirts, and you’re child is a wonderful, special little flower posters,” and without thinking it through, I responded, “How about just giving trophies and prizes to the winners?”

This was not well received.

I come from a place of understanding and compassion. I really do.

Z came to us about six months ago and asked to take “nastics” like her friends. For those of you who don’t speak mangled toddler, this means gymnastics.

Now, once a week we struggle her into a sparkly leotard and take her to nastics. Z is very enthusiastic and squeals with excitement running around in a circle every nastics class. But, here is the kicker…. she sucks at it. She really stinks it up.

The other two and three year olds line up in their colorful little leotards and deftly perform flips, and “skin-the-cats” while I am not really sure what Z is doing. I think I blogged about it before and one time I did catch her allowing another little girl to pick her nose for her. This essentially captures Z’s nastics experience.

She is not good at floor. Her flips are all sideways. She is scared of the balance beam even though it is actually on the floor.   She cannot even jump on the trampoline. It usually results in flailing around like some sort of tortured giraffe trying to escape a tar-pit.

But, Z is happy and cheers for her friends and is learning to follow instructions and stand in line. She is way too little to know she isn’t good at this.   She doesn’t need an encouraging participation trophy.   If she doesn’t listen, I am the first one to declare that she doesn’t get her end of class “yolly-pop” or stamp. When I have done this, it is not a popular decision, and results in tantrums, but sometimes life doesn’t give you a reward for just showing up.

So, even though I will not be rewarding her with a “Certificate of Participation” coupon to Denny’s breakfast bar, I will continue to take her to nastics. Not so my toddler can be a world class gymnast, and not so she can build “self-esteem” (she has that in spades). I want her to learn to listen to and obey her elders. I want her to be kind to her friends and cheer them on in their successes. Is that too much to ask?

8 comments

  1. I so agree with this! When I was young, roughly 200 years ago, we didn’t get awards just because we showed up. It was sometimes disappointing and discouraging watching others get a prize, but that is life. Sometimes you win, sometimes you don’t. Learning to lose gracefully is important. Even when you put your all into it!

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