Last night I caught the last half of The Daily Show, which as to be in my top five favorite TV shows, because I agree with more of it than I'd ever admit. OK, I just admitted it...I digress...
So, Jon Stewart was interview this lady author (her name escapes me) and the name of her book was One Nation Under Therapy. She talks about how our cultures lean towards improving self-esteem (often in an effort to discourage bullying) is creating a bunch of kids who don't have any self-reliance, because they never have to dig their heels in and compete. She even said that in researching her book, she discovered schools that no longer allow the game Tag to be played, but have replaced it with "Circle of Friends" where they all share and tell their feelings and no one ever gets "out". GOOD GRIEF PEOPLE!!!! She also pointed out that often (not always), bullies are people who actually have HIGH self esteem, and that sociopaths do as well. So in our effort to cut down on bullying, we are missing the target. We SHOULD be focusing on teaching good sportsmanship and similar programs, not bleeding all forms of competition out of our children's lives.
Now, when you add into the equation a recent subject I read about concerning the sense of entitlement that many of today's kids have, you have a recipe for kids who not only don't know how to compete and work for something, they also don't think they should have to, but that whatever they want should be given to them freely.
What are we doing to our children???? (When I say "we", I mean as a country/culture) In our desire to give our kids a better life than we had, we are pulling any sense of accomplishment and success they might have through working for something and earning it. In the words of my dear husband, "We are creating a nation of pussies". (Sorry for strong language, I try to keep it clean, but sometimes strong language is needed).
As teachers, my husband and I have both witnessed this phenomena. There is nothing wrong with competition, there's nothing wrong with struggling with something, there's nothing wrong with working hard to earn something. There's also nothing wrong with having winners and losers, but we need to teach our children how to handle both places with grace.